Exclusive: MHP to offer health clients access to behavioural science partnership

Engine MHP and Mischief have announced a partnership with behavioural science consultancy Influence at Work to create a new offer for health clients.

(L-R) Steve Martin, chief executive of Influence At Work, and Nick Barron, deputy CEO of MHP and Mischief
(L-R) Steve Martin, chief executive of Influence At Work, and Nick Barron, deputy CEO of MHP and Mischief

Under the partnership, the agencies will collaborate on comms programmes based on behavioural science to improve engagement, earn trust and deliver measurable behaviour change.

The behavioural science firm will work alongside MHP and Mischief’s creatives and strategists to identify the correct triggers, messages and spokespeople to engage audiences.

MHP said the role of behavioural science in comms had been highlighted by the pandemic and that its clients were looking for ways to use these insights in their campaigns.

The agency said the partnership would benefit its clients across different sectors, but that health was an area in which behavioural science was particularly relevant.

Influence at Work is led by chief executive Steve Martin – a visiting professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business in New York – and president Robert Cialdini.

Commenting on the partnership, Nick Barron, deputy chief executive of MHP and Mischief, said: "The challenge for communicators has been made harder by political polarisation, distrust in authority [and] growing activism… We need to help clients understand what moves people to think, feel and do things differently. We’re delighted to partner with the best applied behavioural science specialists in the business."

Martin added: “We are in a golden era of applied behavioural science, evidenced by the increasing number of organisations seeking to place behavioural insights at the heart of everything they do. That is why this partnership makes so much sense.”

In March, behavioural science experts assessed early government health messaging to see whether it could be improved.

And last month, a range of behavioural science and public health experts told governments around the world to avoid coronavirus messaging that was “authoritarian or punitive in tone”.

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