The Power of Habit - Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Charles Duhigg
Contributed by Roseanne Meinecke
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Chapter 2

This chapter is concerned with enhancing understanding on how to consciously create new habits in people. The first section explains how Hopkins succeeded in advertising different products thus making people form a habit of using such products. For example, he helped a friend advertise pepsodent to the extent that people not only begun using it to brush their teeth but also formed a habit of brushing their teeth, a practice that was not popular in the US at the time (Duhigg, 2012). To create a habit among people (like Hopkins did) you need to introduce a craving in their mind (Duhigg, 2012). Introducing a craving requires that you create cues, and associate them with reward. For example, Hopkins created a craving for brushing teeth (using pepsodent) by using a cue (film on teeth), and a reward, which is clean teeth (Duhigg, 2012). In section two of this chapter, the P&G Company also used cues, and rewards to sell a product for eliminating bad smell on fabrics. As recorded in section three, we associate cues with rewards which then lead to the emergence of a subconscious craving that causes the spinning of the habit loop (Duhigg, 2012). There are however cues, and rewards that are stronger than others, for example having a good scent is a stronger reward than eliminating scent. Therefore, people will have more craving for products that cause a scent than that which eliminate bad smell.


With the knowledge of cues and rewards, it is not necessary for someone doing advertisement to mention to the potential customers the ingredients that a product is made of. For example, Hopkins (as mentioned in part five) did not concentrate on ingredients while formulating advert messages but instead studied what cues, and rewards he could use to stimulate cravings, and thus make the potential customers form a habit of using the products he advertised. The fact that some cues and rewards are stronger than others implies that for one to initiate cravings, and this formation of new habits, he/ she must use stronger cues, and rewards. Weaker cues and rewards are inevitably suppressed by stronger ones, and therefore will be ineffective in causing cravings.

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