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Unilever Shower Study Helps Prompt Marketing Behavior Changes

Posted: November 29, 2011

Unilever recently published findings from a U.K. shower study that monitored actual shower behavior versus what consumers say they do in the shower. The study showed the average Briton spends eight minutes in the shower, costs the average U.K. family £416 a year, and that power showers use nearly twice as much energy and water as an ordinary bath.

Following this study, Unilever also released new marketing behavior change principles—Five Levers for Change—that the company aims to help inspire more sustainable living. Based on company research and insights into consumer behavior, the tool uses a set of key principles that increase the likelihood of having an effective and lasting impact.

The key principles, the Five Levers for Change, are:

  1. Make it understood. Sometimes consumers don’t know about a behavior and why they should do it. This lever raises awareness and encourages acceptance.
  2. Make it easy. Consumers are likely to take action if it’s easy, but not if it requires extra effort. This lever establishes convenience and confidence.
  3. Make it desirable. The new behavior needs to fit with how consumers like to think of themselves, and how they like others to think of them. This lever is about self and society.
  4. Make it rewarding. New behaviors need to articulate the tangible benefits that consumers care about. This lever demonstrates the proof and payoff.
  5. Make it a habit. Once consumers have changed, it is important to create a strategy to help hold the behavior in place over time. This lever is about reinforcing and reminding.

“We have been working hard to distill those critical areas of behavior change insight that we all need to use to engage consumers,” said Unilever CEO Paul Polman. “We are publishing our approach because we think that there are wider benefits from sharing our work with others.”