Can You Change Consumer Behavior?

Here’s a story about a technological advance by P&G.  According to the company, they have developed a spray technology that solves men’s “overspray” problem.  Their formulators are using some kind of cyclic molecule (probably a cyclodextrin) to hold the fragrance on skin better and allow it to come out when men sweat. consumer behavior

Discovering the problem

The problem of “overspraying” was identified through consumer research.  Specifically, they must have sent out a questionnaire to a few thousand people and found that this was a reported problem.  Then they had their cosmetic chemists get to work on fixing it.  The fix essentially seems like a slow release of fragrance.  Not particularly new but it might be new to this category.

Incidentally, a number of consumer problems are found through this type of research.  I’m not sure if they ever lead to breakthrough products and I’m skeptical that this technology will be a game changer for P&G but we’ll see what happens.

The big challenge I see with this technology however, is that they are trying to change consumer behavior.  This is very difficult to do.  If you are trying to create a new product, you have to see what consumers are doing and make your product fit in with that.  Getting consumers to change some behavior is nearly impossible unless you have a lot of time and a huge advertising budget which you can spend to retrain consumers.

P&G might be able to do it (probably not) but a little company?  No way.  If you are trying to start your own cosmetic line don’t waste your time with products that require consumers to change their behavior.  You’ll be doomed from the start.


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