Products and mass behavior shifts

Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

Every crisis and/or Macro trend brings to light new opportunities that give exponential rise to a few outlier companies. The pandemic for example saw the rise of great companies across tele-health, payments, collaboration etc. to newer heights.

This happens because each mega event has the power and influence to accelerate behavior changes at scale.

Companies with the right products and with the right distribution act as catalysts for these mass behavior shifts. If correctly leveraged, these products end up creating new industries and emerge as category leaders, growing exponentially in the process.

Typically great products would catalyze these behavior shifts by two key levers:

Few examples below —

When demonetization stuck India, millions of us were left struggling to perform basic chores like paying for groceries. PayTM enabled cashless payments and accelerated a behavior shift in payments.

Another example — Covid’19 has been an unfortunate crisis that triggered hundreds of micro and macro behavioral changes for billions globally. Mass remote work for example was one big behavioral shift. Zoom catalyzed the shift to remote work by the same two levers:

Yet another example from last year is Peloton. People had an intrinsic motivation to stay fit but gyms were shut and Peloton swooped in rapidly.

Teams could spend years linearly scaling a product and then an unexpected trend or crises gives them an “explosive growth” moment.

However they need to be well placed to capture and leverage this opportunity. If they have already prepared and ironed the right acquisition/distribution with a healthy top of the funnel, these products will multiply the amount of people shifting to the new behavior. They will become category creators if they are able to sustain this new behavior over time and prevent behavior “resets” for this new mass audience.

Thus, when a product emerges 10X acting on a mass behavior shift, it’s not just a matter of luck. Remember that this product positioned itself well in advance and it allowed them to ride the waves of a supporting macro trend.

I love drawing connections from different subjects in a hope to simplify the world of product management.

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