Discover more from Scott’s Daily Blog
Choreographing New Habits
Picture the aroma of a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
The warmth cradled in your palms. The first sip kick-starting your day.
That was my problem.
I owned a company that sold energy patches - caffeine, B vitamins, natural ingredients. Slap it on your skin and voila, steady energy for 8 hours.
Less costly than a Starbucks venti, no afternoon slump. Yes, it works. Yes, the science backs it up.
But coffee isn't just caffeine. It's a ritual.
The issue wasn't the product. It was the habits.
How do you compete with the sensory allure of morning coffee?
How do you craft a product so essential it becomes part of someone's routine?
Enter the world of sensory marketing.
Habit isn't just about the physical act. It's the experience. The sensations.
Taste, smell, touch. They're all triggers.
But the beauty of the human brain? It's adaptable.
You don't need to replicate the coffee experience. You need to create a new one.
Look at Pepsi and Coca-Cola.
In blind tests, people often prefer Pepsi. But open their eyes, and suddenly, Coca-Cola wins.
The power of branding, yes. But also, the association of taste with memories, emotions, experiences.
How could it replicate the experience - the rich smell, the steam rising from the mug, the ritual?
Here's the thing: we couldn't.
People like their habits. They're comfortable. Familiar.
Henry Ford once said, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
We didn't need to reinvent the wheel. We needed to simply add another spoke.
Remember this in your ventures: you don't always have to be a disruption.
Sometimes, the best way to be essential is to weave yourself into the fabric of existing routines.
In the battle of the habits, the familiar usually wins.
In the game of business, the new doesn't always have to checkmate the old. It can simply sidle up next to it and become a part of the game.
And so, in the story of our energy patches, we didn't aim to replace the cherished morning coffee.
Here’s what we did instead…. something called the Hook Model by Nir Eyal. It's a four-step process: Trigger, Action, Variable Reward, Investment.
The trigger is your morning fatigue. The action? Peeling the patch and sticking it on. Now, here comes the tricky part.
How do we replicate the coffee ritual's variable reward?
We couldn't mimic the smell, taste, or warmth of coffee. But we could stimulate the same comfort.
We associated the patch with empowerment. The capacity to tackle the day without the looming crash. The freedom from being shackled to caffeine.
The investment was subtle yet powerful. Each patch worn, each productive day, reaffirmed the patch's value.
Yet, the journey wasn't without pitfalls.
Many trials, errors, and tweaks were made.
Social media to share stories of users reclaiming their energy. We included customers in our narrative, making them co-authors of our brand story.
Slowly but surely, the habit loop formed.
But remember, the endeavor to replace a habit is as much a creative journey as it is a scientific one. It's about diving into your customers' psyche and dancing with their daily routines.
And as you leave your footprint (your product), embedded in their daily dance of various habits, routines and rituals.
Remember, you're not just selling a product.
You’re creating an experience. An emotion. A ritual.
Because the battle isn't against other products. It's against the alluring charm of human comfort.
And your job is to choreograph a new habit.