Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Invited Symposium #321
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Branding Behavior Analysis Globally
Monday, May 28, 2012
10:00 AM–11:20 AM
6A (Convention Center)
Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Kevin J. Munson (Sears Holdings Corporation)
Discussant: Kevin J. Munson (Sears Holdings Corporation)
CE Instructor: Kevin J. Munson, Ph.D.

Behavioral challenges underpin our most significant global issues. As a result, non-scientific "behavior change" methodologies are being branded by a multitude of sources at a pace never experienced by Behavior Analysts' and they appeal to a broader market than we have ever imagined. Even though ABA continues to be the most evidence-based approach to achieving sustainable behavior change, we have been ineffective in establishing a "brand" that differentiates us from other providers, except in a few specialized areas such as Autism. A model will be presented for creating a paradigm shift among the general public in how Behavior Analysis is viewed relative to other behavior change methodologies. We will illustrate how other comparable cultural paradigms have been created and evolved globally, including Strategy, Six Sigma, American Cuisine, etc. We then will present a straw model of an updated cultural brand for ABA, showcase the results of testing that brand across a broad group of Behavior Analysts and their clients, gain feedback from the audience, and present the components of a brand strategy plan that could be used to reposition Behavior Analysis in the very near future.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

This event is open to all behavior analysts interested in the branding of behavior analysis.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to:
  • Describe how other cultural brands have evolved and how the variety of people who delive against those brands benefit on a daily basis
  • Discuss the power of behavior analysis using terms, principles, and values that attract today's end-users
  • Identify 2-3 actions they can take immediately to help build a more contemporary brand for behavior analysis

Developing New Paradigms and Cultural 'Brands'

JULIE SMITH (Continuous Learning Group, Inc.)

The last century has given birth to numerous influential paradigms which have evolved to the point where they have become cultural brands that are recognized globally (e.g., American Cuisine, Six Sigma). The development of these brands follows a typical pattern, from first being invented by 'disruptive gurus' to being positioned effectively in the market by pioneers, to becoming embedded in educational institutions as the 'way to do things,' to eventually becoming global and well-respected. This pattern of brand development will be applied to illustrate one powerful way to create a paradigm shift among the general public in how behavior analysis is viewed relative to other behavior change methodologies. A new, contemporary model for behavior analysis will be presented, based on the applications of key learnings from how other paradigm shifts occurred globally.

As a co-founder of CLG (Continuous Learning Group, Inc.), a global consulting company, Dr. Julie Smith has helped Fortune 500 companies apply CLG's unique behavior-based Change CatalystSM methodology to execute wildly challenging strategic initiatives. She also has developed innovative, personal change tools to help individuals enact change in their lives; to become truly Change-Resilient. As a lead seller and consultant, and as a coach to Fortune 100 executives, Julie knows the challenges of positioning behavior analysis with seasoned buyers every day. She has a deep understanding of the competitive challenges we face as a discipline, and a deep desire to ensure that we do not miss this unique window of opportunity to reposition ourselves as the most contemporary, pragmatic, and proven approach to behavior change available today.

The "Social Networking Test" of a Behavior Analysis Model

KEVIN J. MUNSON (Sears Holdings Corporation)

The results of a "social networking test" of the newer, more contemporary model for behavior analysis will be presented. Volunteer behavior analysts have agreed to test the model in the first quarter of 2012, across a variety of constituents and clients to see if the terms, positioning, and value proposition for a "contemporary" view of behavior analysis resonate. The premise is that nothing is wrong with our science; the trouble lies in how we talk about it and how we discuss the brand promises. The results of this test will be presented, and the audience will be asked to provide further input and data.

Dr. Kevin Munson is the Chief Learning Officer at Sears Holdings Corporation. Prior to SHC, Kevin held numerous leadership roles – most recently Director of Leadership Development for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Michigan, and prior to that the Director of Learning & Development for Pfizer Global Manufacturing.  Kevin is also currently an adjunct faculty member for Western Michigan University. After receiving his B.S. in Psychology & Organizational Communication from Western Michigan University, Kevin attained his M.A and Ph.D. in Psychology (Behavior Analysis) from West Virginia University.

Understanding the Path Forward

BILL O'CONNOR (Damen Jackson)

A branding professional will help us understand the path forward. He will describe the components of a brand strategy plan to reposition behavior analysis in the value context of today's market. Such a plan will deliver a profile of the re-positioned, re-valued brand and will suggest communications plans for delivering the new brand message. He will help us understand what we would need to do to support such a collective effort, and what the benefits will be for all behavior analysts.

Bill's finally figured out something constructive to do with his curiosity. In the company of ethnographers, anthropologists, psychologists, social scientists, semioticians, marketers, pollsters, trend spotters and fortune tellers, he's looking for the values in the culture that influence choice and behavior. He's even more fascinated by how the values that define the culture get expressed by it—the things that Hollywood makes movies about, the notions that inspire magazines and blogs and press conferences and sermons, and what we eat and how we dress and where we shop and, of course, what we buy. Successful brands and the culture are wound like the DNA helix he's been heard to say, predictably, and on cue. Bill's undergraduate degree is in psychology from Loyola University. He's been back in the classroom for business and branding sessions at Northwestern University and Harvard Business School.



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