What is Behavioral Intelligence?

What is Behavioral Intelligence?

What is Behavioral Intelligence? The Skills and Abilities to accurately explain existing behavior, predict future behavior, influence other people's behavior, and control your own behavior.

For anyone who participates in training with us, works with our marketing division, or simply has a conversation with one of our team members, you will hear the term Behavioral Intelligence. It’s the foundation of our company and it guides everything we do. With that said, you might be wondering what it exactly means. Through years of research, more than a decade of application, and collaboration with professionals in psychology, neuroscience, and communication disciplines, Coeus Creative Group has redefined this space.

Behavioral Intelligence is the application of skills and abilities to accurately explain existing behaviors, predict future behaviors, influence other people’s behaviors, and control your own behavior. Four easy-to-remember categories we describe as “EPIC,” but there is a lot to unpack here.

A Brief History

Behavioral Intelligence made its debut in military strategy. Its application to discern the root causes of intentions and actions of enemy combatants. This type of intel was invaluable for special ops and strategy planning. There were a number of technologies developed to track and analyze behavioral data points to support these military efforts. Like most technologies, these later became commercialized for use in tracking consumer behaviors across digital landscapes.

It wasn’t long after that researchers and talent development practitioners started toying with Behavioral Intelligence as a means for understanding self and others. Some of the work was good, some not so much. Much of it was academic and had no real application value. Mostly, it relied on psychology as its main driver. However, it was not easily accessible to those without advanced knowledge or experience. Unlike Emotional Intelligence, it did not generate mainstream interest nor widespread adoption as a tool for understanding self or others. Behavioral Intelligence remained in the shadows of Emotional Intelligence, which was made popular by Daniel Goleman.

We’ll Take It From Here…

In 2014, Coeus began developing a model that was more inclusive, more robust, and easier to access for the general population. We used the foundational discipline of psychology, but also included the disciplines of applied communication and neuroscience to round out a more holistic interpretation of Behavioral Intelligence. While a small handful of organizations began using the term, it remained mostly unheard of and unpopular until our TEDx talk in 2018 brought it to the attention of nearly 2 million people worldwide.

From that point forward, Behavioral Intelligence was no longer to be the long-lost ugly cousin that no one wanted to invite to the party. Now, there are a number of articles such as one in Forbes titled, “Why Behavioral Intelligence is the New Black for Marketers.” It’s a great article if you have not seen it although it has a narrow focus on digital technologies. Our team especially liked the idea of it being the “new trend” given we have been using our model to help our marketing clients for the past five years with exceptional success. So, what is it about our model that drives marketing results and human performance? Let me break it down.

A Deeper Dive into The Coeus Creative Group Behavioral Intelligence Model

Our 4 easy to remember categories (Explain, Predict, Influence, and Control) establish an internal and external awareness of behavioral meaning, coupled with a framework for internal and external behavioral modification strategies. Let’s take a look at each of the categories and how they interact to establish Behavioral Intelligence as a means for growth and development.

Understanding Behavioral IntelligenceExplain

This category is the base level and supports all of the other categories. The ability to accurately explain behavior is complex. There are a number of factors that drive behavior, such as emotions (which is why Behavioral Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence are related), brain functions, genetics, culture, environment, and motivational drivers to name a few.

Awareness of these and other factors offer a framework for understanding, but we still have to collect information to apply the knowledge. This is where observation of particular body language cues, listening to speech patterns, analyzing behavioral data for digital sources, and other mining tools come into play. Through these human and technological means, we can discern a variety of different behaviors and use these to predict future behaviors, influence other people’s behaviors, and control our own behaviors.


This category relies on patterns of behaviors, habit formation, and applying the base level explanations to a deductive process that gives insight into future actions. Through these applied skills and abilities, future behaviors are often easily predictable. In fact, humans have a built-in capacity to make these deductions naturally. With the help of Behavioral Intelligence, it gets scary how accurate we can be in our prediction models.

For example, if you know that your work colleague suffers from low self-esteem and lashes out when his ego is under attack, you can anticipate his reaction when the new hire begins to threaten his standing with the company. Now that you can predict what will happen, you can insert an influence mechanism to mitigate the harmful effects of his response. Predictions such as these are useful in business in forecasting the impact of organizational changes, hiring results, leadership potential, and consumer behavior.

One thing to note; sometimes humans can act outside of their behavioral norms and be completely unpredictable. In these cases, we “autopsy” a failed prediction to see newly visible markers or an alternative behavioral factor that was previously unrecognized. This helps to refine future predictions and models.


This is where we become masters of persuasion, sales, negotiations, and marketing. By understanding the genesis of people’s behaviors and being able to explain what drives them, we can employ an influence tactic that truly gets to the inner fibers of their very being. Matching a well-structured communication message to the intrinsic drive of another person is incredibly effective at delivering positive results.

Using the foundations of rhetorical communication theories, influence tools (as made popular by Robert Cialdini’s groundbreaking research), and practical applications of a myriad of persuasion methodologies, we can see how Behavioral Intelligence sets the stage for influence to not only be more effective, but faster in its application.

With influence strategies, we are particularly sensitive to the ethical application of persuasion. As the friendly neighborhood Spiderman once said, “with great power comes great responsibility.” These tools are not to be taken lightly and should only be employed with an ethical approach. Influence can quickly become manipulation in the wrong hands, use its power wisely.


This is the real power of Behavioral Intelligence. The ability to manage your behaviors – despite intrinsic motivations (or lack thereof), despite emotional urges, despite nurtured habits – is the epitome of success and failure. Behavior is a choice. How we choose to act and react to internal and external stimuli has consequences. Some of these consequences are positive in nature, while some are harmful or negative in nature.

Utilizing methods such as limbic reaction management strategies, meditation, self-awareness of behavioral triggers and cues, we can become the master of our own destinies. If we can explain why we engage in certain behaviors, predict how we will react to certain stimuli, then we can adapt and transform our behaviors. This is growing our Behavioral Intelligence, and that is the core of what we do at Coeus Creative Group.

Coeus Creative Group’s Application of Behavioral Intelligence

Our vision is to be the leader in Behavioral Intelligence globally, and we are well on our way. We have delivered keynotes, trainings, workshops, and lectures in more than 30 countries; consulted organizations on the development of a Behaviorally Intelligent performance culture stretching from Main street to Wall Street; executed hundreds of marketing campaigns that have driven significant results to our clients across government, nonprofit, and corporate sectors; empowered thousands of leaders to improve their Behavioral Intelligence, giving them the tools to empower their followers and constituents; and we have even developed a proprietary assessment that helps people to understand their own behavioral preferences.

You can take our free, Quick Behavioral Elements Assessment and learn your primary behavioral preference. Interested in going deeper? We offer a full assessment at the lowest price on the market for a growth and performance tool of this type. The investment is $30 USD and you receive a detailed 15-page report with your personal rankings in each elemental preference. If you are curious about all of your behavioral preferences, take the Behavioral Elements – Full Assessment.

This is an image of the behavioral elements planners, a tool to improve Behavioral Intelligence.Our Behavioral Elements Program also has a number of products and tools, such as our Behavioral Planner System, designed to help people transform their behaviors. We continue to innovate new solutions and services in our effort to lead a behavioral revolution.

Why? Because we believe that helping people understand their behaviors is a means to a better world. Less conflict, better relationships, more innovation, enhanced leadership…It is all possible with the application of Behavioral Intelligence. The Coeus Team is proud of the work we do. We would love the opportunity to help you improve your own Behavioral Intelligence. Behavior is a choice and how we choose to behave impacts our success and failure. Behave intelligently, friends.