Consumers are Creatures of Habit

Over the last 20 years we’ve seen many of our most fundamental behaviors changed by the impact of digital technology.  How we communicate, how we consume and interact with information and entertainment, even how we navigate our physical environment.

Or have we?

When we use Facebook, YouTube, iTunes or any of Google’s myriad products and services are we really doing anything fundamentally different from our parents or grandparents?

To help answer this question, consider some of the brands considered benchmarks of success in the digital world.  Starbucks has 20 million fans on Facebook; Nike+ has millions if users;  ‘Best Job in the World’ swept the awards shows in 2009.

But when we look more closely, what we see are ideas that work because they ignite sparks relevant to all of us, regardless of culture or demography. They work because they have a fundamental human appeal.

Who doesn’t want to get a free pastry or cake? Everyone who runs will acknowledge it’s a lot less boring if you have music to listen to; and how many of us haven’t dreamed of sitting on a tropical beach for a year (let alone being paid $100k for it)?

So if there’s one conclusion I’ve come to from 20 years looking at when technology-led ideas end in success and when they end in failure, it’s this: the more you can add real and obvious value to an everyday behavior, the better your chance of being a winner.

In the final analysis, despite our big brains and eons of evolution we remain, at heart, simple creatures of habit.

Now, who can I gossip about on Facebook?

by Kevin Allen

International Planning Director

Cross-posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network