Monday, November 28, 2011

Leverage for Changing Consumer Behavior

With a name like Unilever, you might expect them to announce one, not five, levers for changing consumers’ behavior in buying and using products.
     Unilever’s broad portfolio of brands includes Dove, Vaseline, Lipton, Hellman’s, and dozens more. Chances are their products are on your shelves or the shelves of a retailer in your area. They’re sold in 180 countries.
     The “Five Levers for Change,” published earlier this month, were developed by a team of experts which included Dr. Richard L. Wright, Behavioural Science Director at Unilever. I’ve topped off the list of five with two bonus tips and added a few research-based angles:
  • Make it important for yourself and for your customers. Before you undertake efforts at behavior change, check that you’re aiming for differences which will benefit all around. You’ll earn a higher profitability. The customers will achieve better value than they are now.
  • Make it specific enough. Identify the current set of consumer behaviors, the desired replacement behavior set, possible incentives for the consumer making and sustaining the change, and likely disincentives for the consumer making and sustaining the change. Not overly specific, however. Recognize there are almost always a variety of ways consumers can change their behaviors to achieve your desired outcome.
  • Make it understood. Raise awareness of the benefits of the change among consumers and your retail staff. Don’t assume that people promptly recognize why they should change. Acceptance often requires repetition over time and reminders in a variety of ways.
  • Make it easy enough. Confidence comes from convenience. Convince consumers that they are capable of making the changes. At the same time, maintain enough difficulty to intrigue the consumer and let them know this change is more than trivial.
  • Make it desirable. Show how the new behavior fits in with how the consumer likes to think about herself and enhances what others will think of her. Your promises here can range from helping the consumer to show off to allowing him to show social responsibility.
  • Make it rewarding. Once your customer has changed his behavior, point out the gains. Unilever says that this step demonstrates the proof and the payoff.
  • Make it a habit. You want to maintain sufficient motivation to hold the changed behavior in place. After it’s carried out repeatedly, it becomes part of the consumer’s repertoire. To the degree you can, catch consumers at the times they’re choosing what to do.
Click below for more:
Acknowledge Inertia in Consumer Behavior

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