While building a model predicting if someone would choose their current brand/provider again today, my client half-jokingly said, “Yeah, choice is one of those things that you can never move.” He meant, of course, that share and choice are resistant to change in the short term: No matter how hard you try, your efforts seem to have little effect.
Shares do change over time though, so how does that happen? Recently, I found one answer in an unlikely place, the bestseller Superfreakonomics. In one section it’s clear that to change a consumer’s future behavior, we have to understand the relative incentives she has and the why behind them. The key point being: Consumers’ personal choices and behavior are unlikely to change unless and until they believe that change is in their best interest.
That change can come about by being pulled to another provider (something new, better, shiny) or pushed away by the current provider, and there are many ways to decide against re-choosing your current brand. Since commitment focuses on the consumer’s state of mind, it portends what might happen next. From this perspective, here are four paths that lead to not re-choosing your current brand:
Certainly, the converse can bind and pull customers to you. Also on the pull front, The Peppers and Rogers Group says that any product must have at least one of five attributes to succeed; if it doesn’t, you have nothing to sell and it will fail:
In sum, it is critical to discover the incentives or disincentives, and which are strong or insufficient. As Superfreakonomics states, “This is what makes the science of behavior change [and prediction] so difficult.” Importantly, there may need to be meaningful negative consequences from not changing before a change will occur. The authors offer this answer to hard-to-change behaviors: You must come up with engineering, design or incentive-focused solutions that render the old behavior or choice less efficient, less modern or less appropriate.
Successfully achieving that lets you steal your competitors’ customers; but watch out when a competitor effectively convinces your customers!
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