Overcoming prescriber bias

We identified common behavioural biases preventing physician engagement at a diagnostic, therapeutic and brand level.


Brand supporting materials were too data-driven; the overall message content was too long and highly rational in its argumentation and presentation. The company wanted their messages to connect more strongly at an emotional as well as rational level with the target audience.

Furthermore, it was believed that certain aspects of the brand’s profile were not optimally articulated. The company wanted to enhance the communication and better contextualise brand features and benefits.


Working alongside behavioural scientists at Hill + Knowlton Strategies, we started with aligning around a behaviour change goal. With the client company, we reached agreement on the precise behaviour change goal and clarified current attitudes and perceptions. We then looked at the brand position to date – identifying challenges and opportunities facing the brand and carrying out an in-depth review of current brand positioning and message delivery.

We undertook desk research to assimilate data, and review relevant cognitive and behavioural biases at play, accompanied by interviews with internal sales and marketing personnel. We held a co-creation workshop to identify potential interventions to change perceptions and behaviour, followed by a debrief of challenges to date and a presentation of potential behavioural science-based interventions. Examples were brought to life through creative design. Qualitative research was carried out to evaluate effect of changes – incorporating NLA (Natural Language Analysis).


Our research insights identified a seemingly simple way to make data resonate with clinicians at a more emotional level. That is to turn probabilities (1.4% of patients) into frequencies (14 patients out of every 1,000). This works because it is easier for clinicians to intuitively relate frequencies to their own clinical experience.


By combining the latest theory and evidence from behavioural science in communications, existing evidence from similar clinician decision-making scenarios, and in-depth knowledge of brand perceptions and current positioning, we were able to generate evidence-based and bespoke solutions that were simple to integrate through this client’s marketing materials.

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