“Most of the time, what we do, is what we do most of the time”: it’s a statement that captures one of the great truisms of human behaviour, and also one of the great challenges for marketers.

Up to 45 per cent of our behaviour appears to be habitual: an automatic response to particular environmental cues that it is very difficult for our brains to override. Many brands are the beneficiaries of our habitual actions; others are stymied by them. However, it is one thing to benefit from people’s habits – it’s quite another to be able to identify them, create them or override them.

In this feature, we reveal the complex mental code that governs habitual behaviour – and how marketers can create, reinforce or bypass it:

  • How habits form in the brain
  • Why it is so difficult for human beings to break out of habits once formed
  • Why identifying the existence of habits is crucial for brands
  • How changing environmental cues can override existing habits
  • Why training consumers is like training dogs (and not like whispering to horses)
  • The risks of changing brand direction without a full understanding of why your consumers behave the way they do.
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