Knowledge Bank Blog, Behaviour Change, Category Strategy

Good Strategy Part 2 : Driving Behaviour Change

Are you clear on the behaviour change you are trying to drive?

Last week we talked about what makes a good Category Strategy.  Knowing the issues you are trying to address, knowing what you need to do to address them and knowing specifically how you should do it.  Then expressing this as a simple story that people understand, remember, and act on.

To grow a category (rather than just move spend between different brands) you have to do one of 3 things (1) get more users – penetration (2) get them to use more often – frequency or weight of purchase (3) increase spend per occasion – the average price paid.

To achieve any of these things, you need to bring about sustained behaviour change in consumers.  We know that this isn’t easy, because humans are creatures of habit.  They behave as they do for a reason.  Any of you who have already failed on a New Year resolution can attest to this.

So, how can you get consumers to change their behaviour, to drive real category growth? We think there are 3 key requirements.

  1. They need to know what to do.
  2. They need to be motivated to do it.
  3. It needs to be as easy as possible to do it.

1. Knowing what to do. These can be steps in a regime – e.g. stain removal : detergent : conditioner in laundry. Pre shave : shave : post shave in shaving.  These steps may be obvious to the industry insider, but they are often not obvious to the shopper.  10% may read the neat flow chart on back of pack, the other 90% may have little idea about what they should do.

In food it could be when to use something, linking to key meals or occasions.  Or it might be how to use something, particularly something that is unfamiliar.  Think about a Papaya.  When do I use it?  Is it for breakfast?  Fruit salads?  Juicing and smoothies?  And how do I use it?  How do I know it is ripe?  How do I cut it up?

How many shoppers don’t buy something because they don’t know what to do with it?  And if they buy it, how do you make sure they use it right? So they buy it again next time.

2. Being motivated to do it. This is all about selling the end benefit. Focusing on the positives of buying and using a product.  Telling people what might happen if they don’t do something, or carry on doing something they shouldn’t, is a hard sell.  Shoppers need a positive reason for their behaviour :  a ‘Reason to Buy’.  The Reason to Buy should be the most important benefit that a category, sub category or type of product delivers – a benefit that a shopper could play back.  Don’t overthink it – ‘1 of your 5 a day’, ‘no irritation after shaving’, are simple, but effective.

3. Making it as easy as possible to do it. Shoppers might know what to do and have a compelling reason to do it, but if it’s not easy, they still won’t do it. How do you make it easy?

It could be merchandising – by steps in the regime or key food occasions.  It could be pack size and format.  If you want something to be used every day put it in 7 servings.  If you want something to go in the lunchbox each day, put it in 5 servings.  Or it could be bundled promotions.  This is why meal deals work so well.  You don’t have to go to 3 or 4 different parts of the store and think about the price of each item.  You just buy the bundled offer.

If behaviour change is key to category growth, then it stands to reason that behaviour change should be at the heart of your category strategy.  This doesn’t mean having 50 clever ways of changing behaviour, but rather having a simple, consistent plan built around the 3 steps we have talked about.

Behaviour change isn’t easy.  It is hard.  We shouldn’t make it harder.

Feel free to forward.  Have a great weekend and speak to you next week.