During this week’s PR Talk Podcast Elizabeth Edwards, founder of Volume PR and Engagement Science Lab, joins Amy for a second time since PRSA ICON 2019 to talk about psychology and science-based marketing.
The Integration of Psychology and Marketing
To begin the podcast, Amy asked Elizabeth to define science-based marketing and how it works at her company. First, she said behavioral communication is what she wanted to study, but it was not – and is still not – available in higher education. So, when she created Volume PR 20 years ago, she made it a priority for her team to study behavioral and neuroscience to help them understand how the mind creates meaning.
In the two decades since she started her business, much research has been done on the psychology of marketing. Elizabeth and her team use the findings from relevant studies and apply them to their work across campaign development, speaking engagements, media training and more.
Intrigued by Elizabeth’s approach, Amy went on to ask how she handles the often difficult task of measuring and tracking results. Elizabeth replied that she follows the Barcelona Principles of PR and uses its seven principles to measure attitude, perception and behavior. [To learn more read Elizabeth’s new book, The Science of Human Engagement.]
A Cognitive Approach to Crisis Communications
Amy and Elizabeth discussed how understanding behavioral responses can drive the way one develops communications, particularly in a crisis. Amy referred to an article Elizabeth wrote related to the pandemic, titled, “Designed to Divide: Why Mask Messaging Unintentionally Created Chaos.” It serves as a good example of how psychology plays a role in message development. Indeed, Elizabeth said the article examines a real-life scenario that illustrates how a seemingly simple message can go wrong. During the height of the pandemic, NIAID Director and current Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci, made a definitive statement about wearing masks that backfired. “We know that when people are in a heightened mode of crisis, their brains don’t like change,” Elizabeth explained. “Because science changes, what Dr. Fauci said may have been true at the moment, it wasn’t as time went by, and consequently it created public dissension.” That’s why it’s critical to frame statements, especially in a crisis, to allow for inevitable changes that may occur down the road.
Personal Growth Through Focus on the Unconscious Brain
As she studied behavioral science, Elizabeth learned that 95% of decisions are made from the unconscious brain. She used that information to ensure her team created messages tailored to both the unconscious and conscious brains. Furthermore, Elizabeth applied psychological principles to her own personal growth. Using science, she embarked on a healthier path by eating better and practicing greater self-kindness, which included attention to self-talk. She found that when her mind was consumed with negative thoughts, by pausing, she could redirect herself to more positive self-talk.
With a focus on more self-care, Amy asked how Elizabeth’s priorities have changed. She said Volume, of course remains a significant priority in her life, but as she has gained a greater understanding of herself, she wants to help others to get on that same path. From keynote speaking to the daily connections she makes with people, it is very important for her to share her personal discoveries and growth. To hear more of Amy and Elizabeth’s insightful conversation, listen now to the latest episode of PR Talk.
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About the guest: Elizabeth Edwards
Elizabeth Edwards is one of the most sought-after communication strategists of our time. The founder of Volume PR, Engagement Science Lab, and the Frequency of Understanding movement, Edwards is a celebrated futurist who has dedicated her award-winning career to closing the gap between the study of the mind and the business of engaging it.
Globally recognized as a visionary for her lifetime of professional communication accomplishments and the development of a science-based engagement method, Edwards was named a 2021 Visionary Top Woman in Communication by PR Daily. Known for her energetic delivery of thought-provoking, highly relevant, and practical insights, Edwards trains, and keynote speaks for Fortune 500 companies worldwide such as Novartis Pharmaceuticals, BMW, Transamerica, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Allstate, and Charter.
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