Behavioral Insights / Behavioral Ideas (3)



One of the most obvious behavioral approaches in planning or brand management is when "occasion based" thinking is applied.


So for example a brand portfolio manager might think something like "Cannibalization between the 12 toothpaste flavours will be strong because they all compete for the same usage occasion." What happens here is that his frame of thinking switches from attitudes and propositions to "slots of behavior". Brushing teeth. Not "the need to brush teeth". Actually, there is no such need. But there is the brushing. And effects of brushing. So "need based" talk is actually misleading in this case.
So, the manager assumes that whether the products differ in their appeals to certain taste preferences, sensual expereinces or values is secondary to the fact that they serve the same occasion - say behavior.

So in order to create a behavioral positioning space a behaviorist would rather ask for different behaviors - or occasions - within brushing teeth. Brushing in the morning might be different from that in the evening. That's "occasion based" thinking. This might have been the starting point for Elmex & Aronal toothpastes in Germany. What they claim - or proclaim - is 100% behavioral: "Aronal in the morning. Elmex in the evening". It's just a behavioral program. Of course, there's some medical rationale behind that, but I guess it also could be RtB-retro-fitting to a simple behavioral insight: people brush teeth twice a day.
...some people do...

Ok, what about those who don't? How many don't? Is there a product that doesn't require twice-a-day? Or a product that encourages & rewards the second brushing? So, I guess, that's behavioral thinking about the problem. It's not necessarily the best way to go, maybe "teeth problems" is a better way to segment and position products: Prevention, Repair, Whitening, Pain Protection, Bad Breath etc. But that's what all brands do already, so...

Just from reading the above it seems to me that this sort of thinking works better for products & product development than for e.g. umbrella brand positioning. You wouldn't position a whole umbrella brand on just one occasion / behavior, would you? In the case of toothpaste you usually would go for "From Medical Professionals" or "Fun Experience" or something like that.

I will continue to write about this whole topic - behavioral, not teeth - because I have a strong feeling that there is much more interesting stuff to come. Thanks for reading, again.