The VERY best book I read in 2012 was indisputably The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business.
Written by Charles Duhigg, this book was a personal wakeup call for me, appropriately timed at year’s end.
Duhigg’s brilliant collection of ethnographic narratives, psychological research and his model of the habit loop work to dissect the neurology behind what drives our most instinctual behaviors. Duhigg makes the case that by first working to identify and understand our habits, we can gain the power to redesign them.
If you haven’t yet read it, I strongly recommend that this be the first book you start with in 2013. Watch this video to understand what I mean.
Consumer Habits and Your Marketing Strategy
One of the most fascinating narratives shared in the book tells the story of how the marketing folks at Proctor & Gamble first launched the Febreze brand into the U.S. markets … and then the world.
First introduced in test markets in 1993 as a way to eliminate household odors, Febreze was a complete flop. Trails of the product were supported by television commercials that depicted customer testimonials from busy moms working to get the smell of gym socks and cat litter out of their homes.
Believe it or not, the benefit of destroying household kitty box stench simply wasn’t enough to create habitual purchase behavior among consumers. By 1998, the P&G marketers had figured out that by adding a fresh scent to Fabreze and promoting the product as a way to put a final touch on the day’s cleaning activities was what finally hooked consumers into becoming repeat buyers.
Today, Fabreze is sold all over the world and has spawned a complete line of products that includes air fresheners, fabric refreshers, plug-in oils, scented disks, odor eliminating candles and automotive air fresheners. The line continues to generate millions upon millions of dollars in revenue, and I’m willing to bet that you may have a bottle stowed under your kitchen sink right now.
Using Mobile Apps to Build Habits
The idea of building habits to create awareness and affinity for products and services makes a ton of sense.
For instance, think about how mobile apps have already invaded your life today. More than half of the U.S. mobile users now carry smart phones, largely due to the availability of applications that act as utilities in our lives.
We use apps to store and listen to our favorite music, check our bank accounts, talk with our friends on Facebook and even find tidy restrooms in cities we visit.
In the last two years, we have seen significant shifts in consumer behavior towards the adoption and use of apps for just about anything. This trend will only continue to gain momentum in 2013.
My Best Marketing Advice and Wishes for You in 2013
The best brand awareness comes when your target consumers are given an attractive reason to touch your brand every single day.
Creating utility mobile applications that serve a need present in your audiences’ lifestyle can help to build the habitual behavior that will leads to stronger affinity, social sharing and word of mouth spread. Find a way to do this, and habitual purchase behavior will follow.
My very best wishes for a safe, happy and meaningful new year in 2013!