I have talked to thousands of people in qualitative research over the years and this truth has always stuck out to me…when people say they “try” to do something it essentially means they don’t do it but would certainly like to think about themselves as someone who would do it.
“I try to work out 3 days a week.”
“I’m trying to eat healthier.”
“I’m trying to spend more time with my kids.”
Saying you’re “trying” to do something is a blurry, complex thing. That’s why I love it. And always have. When someone says “I’m trying to cook more at home and go out less” it means there is some belief about this behavior that’s important to them but something is getting in the way of them doing it. What intrigues me about this in our current marketing environment is that this is a place where a lot of LIFE TENSIONS CAN LIVE. In this case, it could be that the person is watching some cooking shows, feels a little bit of inspiration but also a lot of pressure because somewhere inside they believe this is the right way to live life BUT SOMETHING IS HOLDING THEM BACK FROM BEING ABLE TO TAKE ACTION.
This is one of the reasons I’m way more interested in LIFE TENSIONS than benefits and attributes these days. I’d suggest if you have a discussion with this person about why they’re inspired by the cooking shows and why they feel the pressure they feel that a lot of beliefs and tensions will surface that demonstrate how they want to feel about themselves and what is getting in the way. Wow. A brand could solve that kind of tension and create a new category…or just a more meaningful connection.
Here’s an idea I’m going to give away. I’ve never tried this myself but I think I’m going to apply it to my insight work where it makes sense. Have people in a study make two columns. One is a list of all the things they’re “trying” to do. The other column is a list of things they are doing. My hunch is a lot of discussions about relevant life tensions will come out of that. Set the context around a certain behavior like diet or health or whatever category you operate in and I bet you’ll find a basket full of LIFE TENSION goodies waiting for you.
And then you can figure out how your brand can solve them. Fun!
You can read more about Life Tensions and Belief Systems in my new e-book “The Advantages of Being Human in Consumer World” here