H+K SMARTER™ is Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ specialist behavioural insights team.


Based in London, the team works on projects across multiple sectors and targeting a variety of audiences, both internal and external. The team comprises behavioural and data science experts and then draws upon specialist skills across H+K’s global network.

We created the SMARTER™ model to bring together the seven key behavioural insights for communications. We apply these insights to design effective communications strategies.

To give an example: people usually respond more readily to risks and benefits presented as avoiding a loss (e.g. “don’t miss out”) than a more typical gain-framed message.

Why behavioural science?

The latest insights from behavioural science help us understand how people actually think and act in real life – and how we can influence this.

People often behave in ways that are surprising and seem irrational. Consumers do not always switch to a better or cheaper product. Almost all of us do not save, exercise or eat as healthily as we know we should.

Behavioural insights reveal that most human behaviour is driven by automatic, instinctive and intuitive thought processes. Even decisions we believe people make rationally are often automatic, influenced more by context than by consciously thinking something through. This is as true of business professionals as it is of consumers.

A consequence is a growing realisation that communications based on appeals to people’s rational thought processes are insufficient. Education and awareness is not enough.

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