There a many milestone moments people see as fresh starts for behaviour change

5 “fresh starts” to win more customers

Here’s an all year resolution: New Year isn’t the only time when customers are motivated to change. There a many similar “fresh start” moments throughout the year when you can win more customers.

January 1st is a tried & tested moment to get people to try something new. (You might even be wrapping up your own New Year’s campaign right now.) And there’s good reason for that.

New Year is when we reflect on the past 12 months – and dream of how we might make our next 12 months better. In other words, we’re primed to change our behaviour. Because of this, it takes a much smaller nudge to convert potential buyers.

The problem, of course, is almost every business is chasing that same magic moment.

So how do you compete?

Here’s a smart move: don’t. Change the game.

Because the great news is New Year isn’t the only time when people are primed to make changes.

A 2014 study by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania showed the start of the year is just one of many “temporal landmarks” when we all make a mental fresh start. At each of these fresh start moments, people are more motivated to adopt aspirational behaviour that can overcome their usual willpower problems. Put simply, they’re primed to make a change.

Here are 5 moments the study found to be “fresh starts”:

1. Mondays

Garfield and New Order might hate Mondays, but the humble start of the working week is a regular milestone when the research found spikes in googling diets, attending gyms, and signing commitment contracts. Every 7 days is a new opportunity to make a powerful nudge to win a customer.

2. Birthdays

Not surprisingly, birthdays are big transition moments that spur change. Gathering this info gives you possibilities for much more than just enticements to your customers to treat themselves.

3. New months & seasons

The start of spring means two things: hayfever and fitness offers. But the start of every season – indeed, the start of every month – is also a temporal landmark when people are primed to try a different path.

4. New semesters

Do your stakeholders include students? Then the start of each semester is a powerful time to engage them for change.

5. Public Holidays

The Wharton study found change & commitment behaviour rose on the first working day after public holidays. You don’t need to acknowledge the milestone in your approach – just be there at that key moment, with an offer for change.

Why do these milestones prime people to change?

Well, the researchers concluded it’s because they’re all breaks in our perceived flow of time – demarcation moments separating one period from the next. At these milestones, it’s easier for us to mentally separate our “past” self from who we are now.

They’re also moments that disrupt our day-to-day focus, leaving us more open to “big picture” thinking about life. And in that mode of thinking, we’re more likely make decisions based on desired results, rather than the effort required to get there.

So if the New Year madness isn’t giving the cut-through you want, try timing your key interventions in 2021 for one these other “fresh start” moments. And look for even more occasions meeting this criteria (eg the start of the financial year).

You just might find you achieve more change.

Are your key messages strong enough to stand out from the crowd and show what makes you special? We can make your brand shine.

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