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  • Writer's pictureJesse Basset

Recipe Box: Behavioural Marketing Audit

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

This is our first monthly Behavioural Marketing Audit - part of our toolkit at Well Behaved: an insight and marketing strategy company changing behaviour for good, to support brands with a sustainable ethos. The Behavioural Marketing Audit reviews marketing activity in a category against our insight framework, which is made up of two components: (1) the ‘psychological needs’ that consumers aim to satisfy through buying brands; and (2) the related ‘behavioural drivers’ that impel people to choose one brand over another.

We have conducted a Behavioural Marketing Audit of the fast-growing recipe box category, looking at four leading brands: Hello Fresh, Gousto, Mindful Chef and SimplyCook.

The Audit defined the category norms (i.e., the messages and tactics used by all brands) and the behavioural gaps (i.e., the behavioural drivers that could be used to set a brand apart from the competition).

This article covers a summary of our findings.

Category norms

There are three behavioural drivers that all the brands audited use. These are the marketing messages and tactics that may work but don’t differentiate brands to any great degree.

1. Confirmation bias: All brands leverage their green credentials, from carbon neutrality, to limiting food waste, to working with sustainable producers. Each brand promotes a different combination of sustainability claims to attract subscribers who are looking for brands that share their views on the environment. While Well Behaved are in existence to support businesses with strong sustainable credentials, in a category where it has become the norm, sustainability is a baseline for a brand but not what will set it apart from the pack.

2. Social proof: Social proof connects to our psychological need to want to feel part of a wider community. Recipe box brands use a range of social proof tactics from star reviews to stating how many meals and customers they are serving. While a necessity for ecommerce brands, they are not a point of difference in the recipe box category. Social Proof is just good housekeeping.

3. Illusion of control: All brands offer a flexible subscription that can be altered or cancelled at any point, no strings attached. This flexibility provides a halo effect that connects with consumers’ psychological need to feel in control and it reinforces a desire to subscribe to a brand. While this is a good aspect of the category, it is another norm.

Behavioural gaps

It’s when looking at the gaps and finding behavioural drivers that no brands in a category are leveraging, where the real opportunities emerge. Through our audit we identified several areas that can potentially be used to differentiate brands. In this summary of our findings, we’ve outlined two.

Rosy retrospection: We tend to look back on the past with rose-tinted glasses – whether it's deserved or not. Nostalgia can be used to connect with the psychological needs for happiness, comfort, and familiarity. There is an opportunity for recipe box brands to frame their offering as a reinvention of the healthy home cooked meal – and at great convenience.

Opportunity cost: Understanding the opportunity cost of trying a new subscription service connects to the psychological need to feel in control of our lives, too not waste money and to make informed choices. No brand is clearly spelling out the true opportunity cost of switching – that is, how much does a typical household spend per supermarket bought meal and how much food do they waste each week? (There is also the cost in terms of time and effort to visit the supermarket and accept what’s on offer.) Framing this clearly can help justify why to subscribe to a recipe box brand – it would also lower the barrier for customers who think it is a more expensive option.

Towards an effective marketing strategy

At Well Behaved we build on a Behavioural Marketing Audit by running a Behavioural Marketing Index which tests ideas related to category norms and identified behavioural gaps to see which perform the best with potential consumers of your brand. We can then dig even deeper - via factor analysis and personality profiling - to create a psychological profile and segmentation sufficient to produce a detailed, targeting marketing plan to deliver growth.

This is a snapshot of some of our findings of the Behavioural Marketing Audit into the recipe box category – there is much more to reveal. If you would like us to share with you the full findings of the audit, then please get in touch.

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