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  • Donna Wilson

New Year, New You? Marketing Science Tactics To Keep You On The Straight And Narrow

Updated: May 17, 2022

Happy New Year to one and all.

It’s that time of year where we reflect on the past and contemplate the future. January, named after Janus the Roman god of gates and doors - often considered the deity of time and new beginnings - appears to mimic this contemplative state, having two heads... one looking back, one looking forward.

I nostalgically spend a little time reflecting on the previous year, a bit like a movie compilation in my head with upbeat, funky music and very smoothly edited transitions.

When it comes to looking forward, I am personally a big resolutions-maker (along with the majority of Australians). Of course, like many, I set myself the same ole goals year on year, then promptly lose the will to pursue said goals on about January 23rd.

But, this year, I’ve vowed to do something different.

I want to make my resolutions stick as they serve a purpose of making me a better person on the inside - and hopefully on the outside too. I mean, what’s the point in putting in the effort to think about it, if I’m just going to give up?

How do I make them stick? How do I make them compelling enough to keep me motivated to continue my endeavours for personal betterment?

I’ve recently been exploring the many dimensions of effective media campaigns and there seem to be an inordinate number of uncanny parallels that offer clues as to how I might be able to approach this year’s resolutions a little differently.

Less is more

According to psychology, the main reason that people don’t stick to their resolutions is that they set too many. In media, we know that too many ads in the market results in clutter, diluting the impact of the message. The solve? Reduce the number of resolutions… two or three should do it.

Create emotional linkage

They say that even if we don’t remember what was said, a positive response to an ad is one that creates an emotion and we remember how it makes us feel.

For me, I often simply forget that I want to lose those few pounds and will inadvertently tuck into another sausage sizzle. If only I remembered to go for that run.

So maybe a successful resolution is one that creates a sensation or a feeling that can be embedded.

A friend of mine creates a theme for each year. A theme that inherently engenders a behavioural change such as the year of entertainment, or the year of friendship. This friend is also a strategist. Probably not a coincidence.

This, to me, is bigger than a resolution. Extending beyond a call to action, it encompasses a description of who she is. Evoke an emotional response that underlies behaviour, that elevates mental availability, and set goals that are inherently grounded in action.

Not all resolutions need be made equal

I also see the notion of creating a theme emulating The Long and Short. Corny? For sure. Continuing my cheesy analogy, resolution-based themes could be viewed as the “long” - brand focused, overarching foundation building. And maybe life’s little tweaks in everyday behaviour, such as using keep cups and doing daily tricep curls are the “short” with more immediate results that serve to keep me interested. The take away? Balance long term growth themes with shorter term quicker wins.

So, this year, I’m going to focus on one big resolution - one that contributes to Brand Donna, sprinkled with a couple of little ones to provide some instant gratification to keep me motivated. I think Binet and Field would be proud.


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