How To Expose a Habit? YBR - Two Minute Book Review

This is the second installment of Yellow Brick Road’s bi-weekly book review. I will be sharing my thoughts and key concepts of this book in two minutes. If you are interested in other reviews, please check out the YBR - Must Reads section of our website, or purchasing this book, click on the link below: - Canadian Site - American Site


The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

By: Charles Duhigg

As we are already three months into the New Year, and many of our New Year’s resolutions have gone by the wayside. I was interested to see why it is so challenging to create new habits and while old habits are so easy to revert back too. In the book, The Power of Habit, it takes a deeper look to understand what triggers marketers and researchers have found why we do the things that we do. In many cases these are subconscious activities which engaged us to act.

Here are a couple of interesting case studies found in this book:

Pepsodent Toothpaste

Do you feel that film on your teeth? This question was used by Pepsodent in part of their 1940s advertising campaign. How many of you just ran your tongue across your teeth to check? I know I did and it got people hooked. The following line was that “Pepsodent removes FILM - helps stop tooth decay!”. This natural reaction created a trigger to give potential buyers that they needed to purchase this toothpaste to get rid of the film.

How about that nice tingling feeling that you get from after brushing your teeth? The ingredient that is used to create that experience, does not actually do anything to help clean your teeth. It was used because further market research showed that individual that felt the tingle, believed that their teeth were cleaner vs non-tingling brands. Hence, a new habit was created and this campaign strategy made Pepsodent a bestseller in America for decades.


While the name for Febreze is a household name now, did you know that Proctor and Gamble struggled to figure out how to sell it to the public initially? Well, it’s true. Through their initial research, they met with a Park Ranger would was constantly sprayed by skunks. Her job had a huge impact on her personal life as friends, family, and dates would not spend time with her because of the lingering skunk scent. Febreze changed her life. The smell was gone and everyone noticed including friends and family smelt the difference. Proctor and Gamble thought this was their big win. Everyone would love to get rid of those unwanted smells in their home, right?? However, it didn’t work initially.

As they looked at initial sales, Febreze was selling well in a selected market. But, after a couple of weeks, sales slowed dramatically. The reason, people get accustomed to their own smells and couldn’t tell the difference between good or bad. Hence, the less they used it, Febreze would be sitting on store shelves. To see how they made this into the household name, you’ll have to check out the book. It might be because we do this action every time something smells good. See the image on the right.

These are just two of the many amazing case studies in this book. The Power of Habit educates that deeper understanding of why we do the things that we do, and tactics to create change in those habits. As an Executive Coach, we are always working with our coachees to understand their triggers and develop or create new habits.

That was the Yellow Brick Road – Two Minute Book Review. If you know anyone that would be interested in reading this review, please share and forward. Also, If you are interested in purchasing this book, click on the direct links below: - Canadian Site - American Site

As always, your Yellow Brick Road awaits you!

James Amarelo CEC - Founder

Yellow Brick Road - Coaching and Consulting

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