Behaviour Led Growth


Who is the wealthiest person in the UK?


According to The Sunday Times Rich List it is Sir James Dyson. His total wealth is £16.2 billion – up £3.6 billion from the previous year.


Dyson started with one idea. To use cyclonic separation to create a vacuum cleaner that wouldn’t lose suction as it picked up dirt. The idea came from a sawmill that used cyclone technology.


It took him 5,127 prototypes to get the product right. He took it to all the major manufacturers. They all rejected it. So he set up his own manufacturing company and launched the product himself. It soon became the best selling vacuum cleaner in the UK.


He didn’t stop there. He has continually developed more advanced vacuum cleaners. You can now buy things like the V11 cordless stick – starting at £499.99. You could go further and buy the 360 Heurist Robot vacuum. Sit back and let it do all the work – for £799.99.


He has moved beyond vacuum cleaners. The cyclone technology is being used in air treatments – fans, heaters, purifiers, humidifiers. You can even get a Dyson hair dryer. If you fancy blowing £299.99 on one.


He started with one core product. Developed more advanced versions of that product. Then extended into new product areas.


That’s how you go from an idea in a sawmill to a fortune of £16.2 billion.


Why are we talking about this? In our industry a lot of time is spent looking for growth opportunities for categories and brands. There are many places to look. What competitors are doing. What other categories are doing. Which segments and brands are growing. What is in your innovation pipeline. This may lead to lots of potential opportunities. But also lots of confusion. Which ones do you go after?


We think there is a simple way to look at growth opportunities for a category or brand. It starts with consumer behaviour. Looking at what consumers are currently doing (or not doing) in your category. Then identifying what they could or should be doing.


Identifying the core behaviours that you can drive. Identifying the advanced behaviours that you can drive. Identifying the extended behaviours that you can drive. Then setting up your portfolio and key activities to target and drive these behaviours.


So, how can you do this?


Driving CORE behaviours. This is typically about driving category penetration or frequency. Getting people to start using or using regularly. If you are thinking about Oral Care, core behaviours are brushing your teeth twice a day (not all of us do…) and replacing your toothbrush every 3 months (not many of us do…). If you are thinking about health drinks, it might be to drink once a day. If you are thinking about fresh fish, it might be to eat twice a week.


These are not the exciting opportunities. They don’t require lots of funky innovation. But they are often the most important opportunities. If people currently replace their toothbrush every 6 months and you changed that to every 3 months, you double toothbrush sales. So, ask yourself… What are the core behaviours you want consumers to have in your category? What are you doing to drive these? Could you be doing more?


Driving ADVANCED Behaviours. This is typically about trade up. Getting people to adopt higher value behaviours. In Oral Care it might be about getting people to use products that offer additional protection or give whitening benefits. In drinks it might be getting people to buy drinks that offer additional functional health benefits. In Pet Care it might be getting owners to feed their pets advanced nutrition products.


There is often a big difference in what different shoppers pay in a category. Some shoppers buy what they can afford to buy. Some shoppers can afford to spend more, but think their current product is good enough. They could be buying something better. So, ask yourself… What are the advanced behaviours you want consumers to have in your category? What are you doing to drive these? Could you be doing more?


Driving EXTENDED Behaviours. This is typically about driving volume. Getting people to use your product in more usage occasions or buy a wider repertoire of products in your category. In Oral Care it might be getting more people to use mouthwash. In Condiments it might be to get people to use the product when cooking – like Hellmann’s “Love Your Leftovers” recipe inspiration. In Soft Drinks, it might be about linking more strongly to alcohol – e.g. Coke’s 150ml cans positioned as “Perfect as a Mixer.” If you are a meal ingredient or component it might be participating in new and different meals.


Many categories have quite fixed usage occasions. They are used in certain ways – e.g. mayonnaise used in a sandwich. But they could be used in a variety of different ways – e.g. mayonnaise as a cooking ingredient. So, ask yourself…What are the extended behaviours you want consumers to have in your category? What are you doing to drive these? Could you be doing more?


It’s a simple way of thinking – core, advanced and extended behaviours. It’s also an effective way of thinking.


It won’t get you Dyson’s £16.2 billion. But it might deliver a few quid more.


Feel free to forward. Have good weekend. Speak to you in a fortnight.