Naga DDB Tribal delves into consumer psyche with new behavioural lab

Naga DDB Tribal is officially launching the Naga Behavioral Lab on 1 March, a strategic consultancy within the agency that uses behavioral science to help clients influence consumers without the need for big marketing budgets.

Josephine Phang (pictured right), who has eight years of experience as a strategic planner, will lead the Naga Behavioral Lab as behavioural strategy director. Joining her in the team are chief strategy officer PiWo Chia (pictured centre) and behavioural strategist Pui Yeng (pictured left).

In a statement to A+M, CEO Kristian Lee (pictured) said the new offering is part of an "exciting push" by the agency to evolve and improve its strategic consultancy capabilities. The team is of the view that agencies should aim to address more holistic aspects of a marketer's challenges that advertising by itself cannot solve.

Lee intends for the lab to become a consultancy that clients look for that delves deeper into the psyche of a consumer by utilising a tried and recognised science to effectively promote the interests and objectives of the brand in question.

"Naga Behavioral Lab has the expertise and skills to solve marketing and business problems that a conventional advertising agency cannot - issues such as the pricing, placement and distribution of a product," he said. Lee added that the team is "greatly fortunate" to have individuals with an entrepreneurial mindset within the agency that constantly think of new and different methods to serve the needs of clients.

Meanwhile, Phang told A+M that the Naga Behavioral Lab is built on people and expertise and it is committed to bringing the right talent on board. "The challenge we have is finding candidates with the relevant experience we need, but we're keeping an eye out and ready to invest to build our team," Phang said.

She added that the main purpose of the Naga Behavioral Lab is to understand how consumers are fundamentally programmed to behave, rather than looking at them purely from the traditional insights standpoint.

Once the team has established that understanding, it will formulate simple solutions to hack consumer behaviour. The trio spent the last year building the practice and has completed a number of successful projects for clients including Tiger Beer and non-profit organisation Teach For Malaysia. Phang told A+M that the Naga Behavioral Lab helped Tiger Beer to successfully increase its beer consumption by 14%, seven times faster than competitors. Meanwhile, the team also helped Teach For Malaysia increase its number of recurring donors by 106% through a behavioral science project.

Chief strategy officer Chia said that marketers today are facing "huge difficulties" in influencing behaviour change among customers and the agency realises that the dependency on campaigns alone is not enough.

"In light of this challenging landscape, what global brands have started doing is to use behavioral science to tackle these issues. When I speak to CMOs about their marketing problems, most of the time the solution points to behavioral science, but until now, agencies weren’t equipped with this capability," Chia said. As such, Naga DDB Tribal thought it was "high time" for advertising agencies to adopt this practice.

He added that the notion of relying on traditional communications alone to influence behaviour in a diverse and fragmented market such as Malaysia is "getting way harder than before". Hence, behavioural science plays a crucial role in helping clients effectively market to consumers.

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