How to Make Change, Slowly

Social Change vs. Individual Change

Social change happens slowly; it has to happen to many individuals. Individual change, however, can happen more quickly—with the right motivation. Many individuals have to experience a motivation or series of motivations strong enough to stimulate the change. Since each individual is different, social change requires lots of different motivations—inputs from influences or influencers with whom different individuals connect. Identifying those influences and getting them sequenced and delivered to the individuals they impact is what takes time. And that timeline is usually not linear.

Social change is individual change on a larger scale. Changing individuals or small groups of individuals who share similar aspirations or dissatisfactions can happen quickly, once those aspirations and dissatisfactions are understood and addressed.

It is interesting to consider how change happens. To motivate real change, the key is to dig into the depth of aspirations and dissatisfactions grounded in core values like honor, respect, and dignity. That’s why we at Breakthrough always dig into the outcomes that are desired and the outcomes to avoid when we explore new market opportunities and how to stimulate new behaviors in existing or new customers.

A shift in mindset is always the first step in the change process. Understanding how to shift a mindset always starts with fact-based insights—Breakthrough insights.

What are you most uncertain about when you go to market? How do you deal with those uncertainties?

What are influencers other than the networks we engage and allow to bypass many of our cognitive screens that warn us of personal danger or alert us to present opportunity? What are networks other than the threads that connect us to others and reinforce our sense of self? When we are uncertain or unclear about our aspirations—what to conjure up as our intention or goal—the trust we have in our network can set us on a path to a satisfying future. Clarity about aspirations is what enables Breakthrough insights that are the foundation of new value propositions.

In Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals1, Saul Alinsky highlights the tension between good and evil. In marketing, that correlates to the tension between current state and a better future state.

The key to Breakthrough’s most operational journey map measures Alinsky’s “…period of incubation—of conjuring, planning, debating, and convincing.” It addresses each of these journey stages and what it will take to execute the change that motivates acquisition of a product or brand—with product and service offering as well as the integrated messaging across all possible touch points. That’s how marketers succeed.

Building the right stimuli at each of those touchpoints requires data inputs from the individuals we want to behave differently. Capturing that data from a group of customers demands a proven, structured approach. It demands design, collection, and analysis of data to generate insights. It demands a well-crafted plan—a go-to-market plan—built on a foundation of actionable hopes and values insights to stimulate change in favor of products and brands that deliver profitable revenue. That Breakthrough go-to-market plan is the key to the elimination of the barriers to rapid change.

1How to Make Change, Slowly, The Atlantic

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