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‘Tis the season to be jolly, and you head out to a local hostelry with every intention of imbibing some festive cheer with friends.

But your mates are running late. What do you do?

  1. Strike up a conversation with a stranger
  2. Pick up some actual physical reading material
  3. Wrap yourself in the comfort blanket of gazing at your phone and ignoring the world 

I’ll bet Santa’s sleigh on C. 

This is what mobile phones have done. Far from their humble beginnings of being a way to talk on the go, they now offer us a portal to the online world, where we spend so much of our work and leisure time. They are the go to thing to do when we find ourselves with nobody real to talk to – they have changed our behaviour.

At a recent Health 2.0 meetup in Manchester, I heard from a number of companies who are trying to make people’s lives better by changing behaviour. From apps that measure how much physical activity we do to clinical trials that ask patients to make lifestyle adjustments in order to lead more fulfilling lives.

Today, companies have to offer more than a product or a service. They need to offer something that becomes part of our daily life, and in doing so alter our habits or behaviour. To affect this change, users must feel some sort of emotional attachment to the brand.

Take fitness apps and wearable devices that let users connect with friends to share progress with points or rewards or league tables. Or home automation equipment, which encourage people to check their energy usage and run more efficiently, benefitting both their wallets and the environment. In the B2B space, innovations that prioritise the safety of machine operatives by incentivizing them to follow best practice gives that person ownership and engagement with an aspect of their work. 

All these brands are building a relationship with users beyond the mere solution they provide. They are becoming intrinsic to an aspect of life, be it personal or professional, and in doing so building a deeper and more lasting connection with their target audience group.

 

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