Working on the problem of habits, I was well aware that this issue is clear and fairly well studied. I worked closely on this topic, but it turned out to be complementary for me, so I made a shift toward studying the influence of hormones.
However, one day a startup asked me to draw my own conclusion about why the strategy of theirs did not work. As it turned out, one “specialist” was gaining popularity, who decided to invent his own bicycle. The one with square wheels, without a handle bar and a seat. He wrote a book, as one would expect, and proceeded to “help” startups.
It was already too late to save the company seeking the help, but as far as two other clients of the “specialist”, I managed to show them just in time how the bicycle that had long been invented looked like and how to ride it.
To avoid pretty expensive mistakes, in this article I will tell everyone about this round-wheeled bicycle with a seat and a handle bar.
Creating a habit for the product is exactly what many brands are striving for. For me not to reiterate a lot of what I wrote earlier, make sure you read at least about the irrationality of the human brain (or better yet, read more of my blog).
As we know from a well-known study in the field of consumer psychology, 45% of our activities are habits. And the way we consume and buy is no exception.
The logic of creating a habit is very simple – it’s all about repetition.
More difficult is the way to organize the repetition. Obviously, as in many cases, one should proceed from a particular situation.
I propose that we first consider the habit on the basis of advertising. The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has got an excellent database of advertising videos for 30 years, which experts like to study to come to their own conclusions.
It all started out with the recognition of the fact that emotional advertising, i.e. referring to the unconscious mind, is the one which is twice as effective as the advertising so easily remembered by us. Then more complex studies followed.
The basis for bringing a new product into the market, according to neuromarketing, is quite simple: to convey to the conscious mind of potential consumers a message about the new product in vivid and memorable ways, and then make this product well-known for human brain with the constant repetition of some seemingly uninteresting messages.
In this case, evolutionary psychology is involved. Our brain is curious about new stuff, but fears it, because there may be danger behind it. Therefore, in most cases our brain chooses that which is familiar. And if it is a question of a regular purchase, a habit is developed over time. Classically, neuromarketing separates habit from unconsciously motivated behavior.
This is the way the manifestation of the habit may look like: you go to the store and take tea of a specific brand. Note that you seem to be aware of other brands of tea available, but still are true to the brand you chose once before. Replace tea with coffee or any other product and you will see that in most cases it’s exactly the way it works.
The situation presented is simplified, because in a store with good marketing you will be “helped” in various interesting ways to make the right choice, and a new brand, worked on by excellent marketers, will make you think to change your preferences. However, in the case of regular inexpensive purchases, we are guided by habit in most cases.
Because of this, there is a trend noted in classical marketing that the brand that creates the market can for a long time remain the number one in this market even if competitors with a better product appear. Competitors may be quite successful in this market as well, but it will still be pretty hard to shift the number one. This applies not only to B2C, but also to B2B.
In the case of a specific application or site, the mechanism of habit formation is similar. You need to give the target audience something useful, something interesting, to gradually develop the habit of using your product. Each separate segment certainly requires a specific strategy to be developed. You know the mechanism. If a problem with the strategy arises, we are always here to help.
How to use habit in sports? It should be clearly understood that habit is not necessarily dependence. They may coincide, but they are different concepts. Dependence involves completely different mechanisms of formation.
The most basic and effective way to form a habit is to start it as a child. I will not describe ways to instill a habit in kids, for they can be applied in an extremely unethical way.
A well-known fast food brand out there brought its business model to the point that 95% of all its clients (including adults) became such because of the influence on children. That is, its clients are either the kids themselves, or the parents brought by their kids, or the grown-up kids.
If you set a goal to do something really valuable for children, you will get a pretty loyal die-hard fan with a high level of lifetime value. This fan will carry his/her passion for the club throughout his/her life, and help you along to instill in his/her kids the habit of visiting the stadium.
I’m talking about something really valuable. Give this issue a serious consideration, if you want to get serious results. I know perfectly well the approach of many sports marketers to working with kids, which is followed by their unexpected realization that the very kids their budgets were spent for are not going to make back the funds invested in them.
I do not like criticizing, but it just hurts me to watch the way of working of some marketers or startups that live on the funds raised from investors. They should at least try to realize the market value of their own work, rather than do something for the sake of doing.
One of the most short-term ways to help form a habit is to sell a season ticket to a fan. If the club also provides the person who came to the stadium with a really interesting experience, you’ll get the habit you need.
Your client should be the one at the center of everything. If you do not provide something really valuable to the client, and show no respect for him/her, you can forget about long-term relationships.
You also should not limit yourself to one mechanism. Creating a habit is good, but be sure to involve the understanding of the way hormones influence the human body, use evolutionary psychology to provide a person with an experience that he/she can not get in everyday life. Learn to understand your client to give him/her something he/she does not even expect. Considering all the resources available for this today.
Remember: every situation has its solution. You just have to look at it from a different angle sometimes, to engage other fields of knowledge. It will be our pleasure to help you with that.
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Leon The Alien
Images: Emma Dau, Giphy