On reshaping existing beliefs and behaviours

A few days ago, I talked about a fellow who wanted to change and stay out of jail.

But changing beliefs and behaviours is difficult.  Hey, people can be stubborn!

So how do you go about doing it?

Go where people don’t know much about you already.
Changing (or establishing) perceptions of a brand or product is easier when general awareness is low and/or consumers have not yet formed a strong opinion about you.   So an opportunity to do this might be when you enter a brand new market.  For instance, fast-food restaurants like KFC and McDonald’s are thought of as serving healthy food in China.  Unencumbered by years of negative perception about their healthiness, they are able to position themselves as higher quality and healthier alternatives to some of the local fare.  To achieve similar perceptions in North America would be near impossible though due to the near total awareness (and association with unhealthy food) people have of these brands.  Supersize Me, anyone?

Catch consumers when they themselves are in a state of flux
So how can you change behaviours when they are already established?  Catch consumers when they are in a period of significant personal change.  Things like getting married, having a baby, getting divorced, moving out of school are all good times to try to change consumer behaviour.

This New York Times article explains how marketers identified the birth of a child as one of those life changing moments that also may lead you to shop at new stores (aside from baby related stores) and purchase different brands than you would have before.

Stress or overload consumers
Similarly, researchers have found that inducing metacognitive difficulties could in some cases result in increased acceptance of marketing claims and thus a more positive brand evaluation.  An example they used involved time pressure (people waiting behind you in line) and something that differed from the usual branding (redesigned packaging), resulting in increased openness to new information.

Bottom line – change in one area induces a greater acceptance of change in other areas.

So think about how you can piggyback on existing change!



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