Rory Sutherland is the Vice Chairman of Ogilvy, an attractively vague job title which has allowed him to co-found a behavioral science practice within the agency.
Rory works with a consulting practice of psychology graduates who look for ‘unseen opportunities’ in consumer behaviour – these are the often small contextual changes which can have enormous effects on the decisions people make – for instance tripling the sales rate of a call centre by adding just a few sentences to the script. Put another way, lots of agencies will talk about “bought, owned and earned” media: we also look for “invented media” and “discovered media”: seeking out those unexpected (and inexpensive) contextual tweaks that transform the way that people think and act.
It is a hugely valuable activity – but, alas, not particularly lucrative. This is because clients generally do not have budgets for solving problems they did not know they had.
Before founding Ogilvy Change, Rory Sutherland was a copywriter and creative director at Ogilvy for over 20 years, having joined as a graduate trainee in 1988. He has variously been President of the IPA, Chair of the Judges for the Direct Jury at Cannes, and has spoken at TED Global. He writes regular columns for the Spectator, Market Leader, and Impact, and also occasional pieces for Wired. He is the author of two books: The Wiki Man, and the best-selling Alchemy, The surprising Power of Ideas which don’t make Sense, published in the UK and US in May 2019.
TEDxTalks: Life lessons from an ad man
Advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself. Rory Sutherland makes the daring assertion that a change in perceived value can be just as satisfying as what we consider “real” value and his conclusion has interesting consequences for how we look at life.
TEDxTalks: Sweat the small stuff
It may seem that big problems require big solutions, but ad man Rory Sutherland says many flashy, expensive fixes are just obscuring better, simpler answers. To illustrate, he uses behavioral economics and hilarious examples.
TEDxTalks: Perspective is everything
The circumstances of our lives may matter less than how we see them, says Rory Sutherland. At TEDxAthens, he makes a compelling case for how reframing is the key to happiness.