Learned behavior

My horse has got a bad back.  So I have to do some simple physio on him before we can go out for a ride, which mainly involves manipulating his legs to stretch his muscles out.  He’s learned the order this all happens in and gets terribly miffed if I get distracted and miss something out, even holding the correct leg up to point out my mistake.

Its learned behaviour.  And it only took him a few weeks to pick it up.  But he has no idea why we are doing all this stretching.  I guess if I stopped doing it for a few weeks he’d stop reminding me too.

It got me thinking about consumer behaviour and what we are trying to achieve when we work on a communications campaign.  We can change consumer behaviour to the point where they would be upset if that behaviour was prevented (Got Milk? is a great example), but shouldn’t we be working harder on the attitudes and beliefs behind that behaviour? 

I’m talking about the kind of step change in viewpoint that lasts way beyond the duration of the campaign.  I’m not saying that I have the answer to this, just that the holy grail has got to be a result where consumers understand why they’ve changed their behaviour and voluntarily keep at it for the long term.

And this sort of illustrates our predicament (with thanks to gapingvoid):

gapingvoid.jpg

2 thoughts on “Learned behavior

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