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The Beauty Of Insights: Leveraging Habit Formation Research To Fuel Business Impact

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The Beauty Of Insights: Leveraging Habit Formation Research To Fuel Business Impact

If you want to understand what your consumers will do tomorrow, you need to understand the habits they are forming today. By applying the Habit Illumination™ framework, brands are armed with the insights they need to embrace (rather than endure) the evolving changes in consumer habits.

What is habit illumination—and why does it matter?

Material’s Habit Illumination™ is a strategic research approach that leverages the science of habit formation to quantify the strength of category habits and guide recommendations to adapt, disrupt, and evolve consumer behavior.

This process brings to light the forces that influence existing or emerging habits in your category to craft a proactive strategy that builds upon (rather than fights against) behavior, providing a framework for delving into consumer habits and uncovering rich insights for brand prosperity.

Case study: Ulta Beauty

In the 2021 Quirk’s Event in NYC, Julie Hermann, Ulta Beauty’s Senior Manager of Consumer Insights, and Dr. Lauren Murphy, Director & Research Scientist at Material, shared how the largest North American beauty retailer used Material’s Habit Illumination™ framework to successfully navigate a global crisis.

Ulta Beauty’s challenge

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, Ulta Beauty knew two things to be true:

  1. Consumer shopping habits in the beauty category would be severely disrupted.
  2. These disrupted could change the way consumers explore, discover, and engage with beauty—potentially permanently.

Ulta beauty partnered with Material to uncover the main drivers of these shifting behaviors and to determine how shifting needs and motivations would impact potential for new beauty habits.

Our approach combined a multi-wave study over 18 months using our Habit Illumination™ framework and guided by the goal of enabling Ulta Beauty to predict whether future changes in behavior are simply trends, or something more permanent.

Insights that will leave you glowing

Explore how Material’s Habit Illumination™ framework helped Ulta Beauty leverage behavior-driven insights to inform their long-term business strategy.

About the author

Lauren Murphy
Lauren develops creative approaches to help understand consumer behavior and why people sometimes say one thing but do another. As Research Scientist Director of Material's Pagrmatic Brain Science Insititute, she draws on her expertise in emotion processing, decision making, and behavior to produce meaningful insights and novel research approaches. Lauren joined Material in February 2018 and received a B.S. in Anthropology from Florida State University and a PhD in Psychology from Emory University.

Read more by Lauren Murphy
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