Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

March 3rd, 2011

Do I Believe Survey Data, or a Brain Scan?: An Interview with the Hindu Business Line

By Sublime Behavior

Part II of Neale Martin’s interview with the Hindu Business Line has been published.  This section of the interview delves into the worries surrounding “subliminal” marketing, the problems with the fledgling field of “neuromarketing,” and areas beyond marketing that unconscious behavior concepts can be applied.  You can find the full article here.

February 25th, 2011

Conquering the Subconscious: An Interview with the Hindu Business Line

By Sublime Behavior

Sublime Behavior Marketing Logo

Neale Martin was recently in Mumbai, India teaching our Level 3 Certification training class to consumer products employees at Godrej.  While he was there, Business Line (part of the Hindu news publication) engaged him in an in-depth interview on unconscious consumer behavior and habit-based marketing.  They’ve recently published part one of the discussion.

You mention that 85 per cent of new products fail, and consumer satisfaction does not equal loyalty. Is consumer satisfaction a necessary layer upon which loyalty can be built? Please explain.

There is very little correlation between customer satisfaction and repurchase or loyalty. When we focus on behaviour, we see that loyal customers are sometimes highly brand-loyal, but sometimes they are brand-indifferent. In both cases, satisfaction is not a good indicator of behaviour. In many studies of brand switching, switchers reported high satisfaction with a brand or store just before defecting. When behaviour becomes habitual, it is no longer tied to goals or intentions, so satisfaction measures become essentially meaningless.

However, customer dissatisfaction is different. If a customer perceives she is dissatisfied, this makes her consciously aware and can disrupt even the most habitual repurchase behaviour.

The statistics around new product failures are truly humbling — estimates are that 80 to 90 per cent of new products fail. Even products that receive great reviews in testing, flop once introduced. The primary problem is that new products are often overlooked in the store because shoppers are on autopilot at point of purchase, completely overlooking the new product. Many companies have sophisticated methods to create, screen and launch new products. But even if potential customers report they will probably or definitely buy a new product, they often fail to purchase when the product is released (one of my clients stated that they have a 90 per cent threshold for definitely or probably would buy, only 3 per cent actually purchased).

– excerpted from Gokul Krishnamurthy’s “Conquering the Subconscious” on February 25, 2011 in the Hindu Business Line.

Here’s the link to the full article: Conquering the Subconscious.  Part Two should be posted in the next week or so.

October 27th, 2010

Cooking with Cream Cheese: Kraft Plays With Context

By Kyle Morich

There was a time that baking soda was just a crystalline substance that was used in baking to release carbon dioxide and help dough rise.  And then Arm & Hammer got very creative and suggested keeping an open box in your refrigerator to eliminate odors.  And now the uber-substance is used everywhere, from toothpaste to antacids.  We don’t give this a second thought, yet consider this: the same substance you put in your mouth you also sprinkle in your cat’s litter box. That’s marketing, ladies and gentlemen.

We always talk about how Context is a key component to habit formation.  If a behavior isn’t associated with a particular context, that behavior can never become habitual.  But flipped another way, Context can be used to identify tremendous growth opportunities.  By marketing baking soda in the context of odor elimination (or stain-lifting, or whatever), Arm & Hammer expanded the pie and moved their brand out of the Cooking context.  Kraft Foods and their Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand are doing the same thing with their launch of “Cooking Creme.”  This extra creamy version of cream cheese can be added to pastas or other foods to add richness and texture.  Some experienced bakers have known about this versatility for years, but creating a new context for the average consumer has Kraft anticipating a huge uptick in revenue.

Brand managers often think their brand exist in isolation, rising atop a hill awash in the golden glow of the rising sun as their consumers run toward it, extolling their love and joy for the brand and how critical it is to their daily existence.  But the truth is that the consumer world is messy.  Odds are you interact with between 50 to 70 brands before you even leave for work in the morning.  Can you name all of them?  Most of the time, consumers would rather a brand just solve their problems.  We often ask our clients, “Are you the meal, a course, or the ingredient?”  The point is to think about what role a product plays in behavior.  Everyone wants to be the center of attention, but there is big business in being a behind-the-scenes part of a behavior.

Kraft saw a huge opportunity for consumers to start using cream cheese as an ingredient in their recipes, not just as a spread to put on the morning bagel.  Now they still have a tough path ahead of them to make the behaviors in this alternate context habitual.  Consumers will need to repeatedly use the cream cheese product in their recipes, notice the difference, find the difference appealing, and continue to buy the product.  But for recognizing the current Cream Cheese context was saturated and for seeking different contexts for growth, Kraft is at least moving in the right direction.

October 13th, 2010

Habit Roundup – 10.13.10

By Kyle Morich

A new series of short takes on interesting articles.

Gap’s Logo Misfire (AdAge)

In the least surprising news of the week, Gap, Inc. switched back to its classic logo four days after announcing a new, “evolved” logo to reflect the “changing” nature of the store.  Gap’s sales problems were not caused by consumer confusion about what the logo meant.  Gap never successfully retargeted its brand beyond the “Everybody in Khakis” spots from the mid to late 90s.  I applaud them for undertaking the difficult task of revitalizing their brand image to their target market, especially in the midst of a recession, but they clearly misaligned their priorities.

Changing the image of their clothes, stores, and reputation takes time, and consumers need enough experience with Gap to reset how they view the Brand.  Changing the logo before this process occurs almost feels like cheating, or repainting a rusty car without fixing the damage first.  By changing the logo and announcing to the world “look how much we’ve changed,” the subtle approach was lost.  Gap made consumers consciously consider whether the company had changed, and they responded with a resounding “nope.”


August 20th, 2010

Friday Face-Off: Facebook Places

By Kyle Morich

Like everyone else this week, I’m here to talk about Facebook Places. Please, before you close the browser tab with contempt, give me a chance.  Today the Habit Lens launches a new series called Friday Face-Off, where we look at a topic from two perspectives.  Today, I pit my personal views of location-based social networking against my professional ones.

Facebook Places (more…)

January 31st, 2009

Arachibutyrophobia: The Fear of Peanut Butter, Part II

By Neale Martin

Unfortunately, what happened to Peter Pan is now happening to the entire peanut butter industry because of one producer, Peanut Corporation of America, which makes peanut butter paste used by a wide assortment of manufacturers in everything from candy bars to milk shakes.  Though the Peter Pan recall was limited to specific lots, all Peter Pan jars were off the grocer’s shelves in a matter of days.  The demands on the executive mind were too great to search out a lot number.  Now that challenge is being generalized across the entire peanut butter product line.  As the FDA continues to expand the list of products that might be tainted, the shopping heuristic for millions is quickly becoming, “Avoid anything with peanut butter in it.”  Ironically, Peter Pan is actually able to benefit from the latest recall disruption because it implemented stringent practices to prevent the introduction of Salmonella in all of its plants and buys nothing from Peanut Corporation of America.