Do you brush your teeth every morning? Sure you do, and I bet you don’t have to remember to do it, either. At some point in your development, the behaviour tipped from being reflective (“what’s that thing I have to do again after breakfast? Oh yeah…”) to automatic.
Shifting from reflective to automatic thinking is the secret to excellence.
Not all behaviours make this leap, not even the ones that we want. We need a special combination of awareness, motivation and know-how for it to happen. But you know what we don’t need? Brochures.
It doesn’t matter how flashy they are, new behaviours are not created through the repetition of catchy messages. Think of what you want people to do – the product – as the total brand. A brand isn’t simply an icon and a tagline; it’s a comprehensive strategy that embraces all aspects of the behaviour you want to promote. Successful brands have emotion and narrative, they draw us in and make us feel good. They are simple to understand and they motivate action.
To develop and promote your brand – the behaviour you want people to adopt – you must begin at the source of the problem you’re trying to solve (the root of the “bad habit”) and identify the people who need their habits adjusted.
I believe in baby-steps towards new healthy habit, and getting really focused on how to tackle the bad habit:
Is it about a belief? (If I drop gum or cigarette butts on the street, it isn’t littering)
Is it about knowledge? (I don’t know what to do with my gum or cigarette butts)
Is it about behaviour? (everyone around me seems to drop them on the ground, so it must be the way things go here)
Once you determine the source of the problem, and who lies at the heart of it, then you can develop strategies and TEST them with the target audience. And remember – if the call to action seems overly simple to you, the expert, it’s probably right on. You have the benefit of hearing the tune in your head already, you know what to do and why to do it. You target audience doesn’t have the tune playing. It is essential to remove as many barriers to adopting the new behaviour, knowledge, and belief habits as possible.
Stay laser focused, start small, and keep it simple!