LLKFB Uses Clinical Psychology to Understand Customer Behavior

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Lieber, Levett, Koenig, Farese, Babcock has teamed with therapy and behavioral medicine organization Behavioral Associates to launch a service that uses clinical psychology to help companies better understand their customers' behavior.

Though the service was officially announced last week, a healthcare company already has signed onto the program, said Bob Lieber, CEO of the integrated communications agency. He declined to name the client.

The program draws on the expertise of Robert H. Reiner, head of Behavioral Associates, New York, and a faculty member at New York University Medical Center, to study the rational and emotional reasons people use to make decisions.

"There are two basic types of factors that drive decisions, and both are functioning full time," Reiner said. "A rational reason may be if someone says, 'I like this because it reminds me of when I grew up in Oklahoma.' An emotional reason is if someone would say he wasn't sure why he liked something and it plays into a subconscious feeling he isn't willing to talk about."

Although determining rational reasons for decisions is fairly straightforward, determining emotional ones is more difficult and may require encouraging customers to imagine or project themselves into different settings and then gauging how they respond.

The idea for creating the service came about after LLKFB, New York, collaborated with Behavioral Associates on several client projects.

"We began working with them on an ad-hoc project basis for specific clients," Lieber said. "We would give them something -- an ad, a telephone transcript -- and we would say, 'Can you test the stimulus? Can you predict what the effect will be?' "

LLKFB has incorporated Behavioral Associates' input into work it has undertaken for all its clients. However, the service was created to allow businesses to access the insight into consumer behavior even if they were not working on marketing campaigns through the agency.

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