Decision Timeline

The  Decision  Timeline

(……………  or, How Long it Takes to Change Minds)


When was the last time that you switched brands  ……………  of any product?

Speaking personally  ……………  a veeeeeeeeeeery loooooooong time!  Just ask Amanda! 😉

The reality is that, given all the many other things that, daily, consume our limited head-space, we:

  • make most decisions on autopilot; and
  • don’t often change our minds.

When change does happen it doesn’t happen in an instant – however hopeful brand / product marketers might be that it does.

We know, for example, that the transition to bottled water didn’t happen overnight (in particular, per capita consumption went from about 70 litres in 1999 to about 170 litres in 2015) but, every day, product marketers attempt to convince potential customers to switch to or choose their product today by offering more proof that their brand is, somehow, different and better.

Changes of opinion and in attitude and behaviour take a very long time.  There’s a whole sequence of events and tiny shifts that happen along “the decision timeline”  ……………  from brand awareness to brand affinity.

The job of brand / product marketers is to look for ways to understand and influence what happens in the middle of the decision timeline  –  not simply to try and make change happen at the very start.

Changing  People’s  Minds

Meanwhile  ……………  we spend a lot of time trying to convince people of our opinion at work, in business and in life.  Then we say to ourselves, for example:

  • “If only we could attract more customers / clients”;
  • “If only the customers / clients we had could be persuaded to spend more”;
  • “If only our colleagues could see the sense of doing it ‘this way’”;
  • “If only the team leader would approve my budget”; or
  • “If only ‘they’ would listen.”

What if we:

  • stopped devoting our energy to persuading those who may never change; and
  • instead, began nurturing the relationships with the people who already believe what we believe?

How would that change our attitude, behaviour and sense of what’s possible?

What then would be the impact on our work?

In short, it’s much easier to find ‘a like-mind’ than to change a closed one.

Peter Kerin

Peter Kerin

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Credit for the above image goes to photographer Chris Goldberg.