4 Steps to Influencing Consumer Habits
It seems like everyone is talking about the habits we’ve formed during the last year in and out of pandemic lockdowns. There are at least 15 new books about habits available for pre-order on Indigo and although it was published in 2018, Atomic Habits by James Clear is still making best-seller lists. Late last year, The Economist reported on the results of a survey of 70,000 Britons revealing that at least 50 percent said their lives and habits have changed since the beginning of the pandemic. On the marketing side, Ad Week reports that 74 percent of shoppers say “that the pandemic has fundamentally changed how they shop.” And, last month, The New York Times published a piece on research-based ways to form new habits.
We’ve applied the steps from The New York Times to how marketers can help their consumers build healthy habits that incorporate their brands. Remember, it takes between 18 and 254 days to build a new habit. 66 days is the median.
Stack habits: Tell consumers when to interact with your brand based on things you already know they do. For instance, take your supplements right after breakfast or, even better, inspire them to make the habit feel fun by pairing it with a leisure activity, like watching TV. Watching a favourite show while on an exercise bike can make it feel like a luxury.
Start small: Don’t expect your audience to change their lives with one purchase. Is there a way to slowly increase their interaction with your brand?
Do it everyday: Can you set up smartphone alerts or other ways to remind your audience to engage with your brand? Content marketing is essential for becoming a daily part of consumers’ lives. Simply seeing a post by your brand on their Instagram feed is a good reminder for consumers to continue their new habit.
Make it easy: Give your consumers the tools they need to succeed, be it simple tips for incorporating your brand into their lives (The New York Times uses the example of a woman who sleeps in her running gear so she only has to put on her running shoes in the morning), creating a content hub full of wellbeing tips or building an app that includes reminders.
Reward yourself: Making consumers feel good about their new habits is essential. You can build rewards right into a wellbeing program—like Rexall’s Be Well app that we featured in our September issue, which rewards consumers with points redeemable in-store for healthy behaviour. Or, you can highlight the inherent rewards in using your products and services. For instance, enjoying the taste of a food or drink product or indulging in a self care experience.