How and why do people change their behaviour to use one product rather than the other? Historical trend is a great source to understand this. Enterprises that contributed towards human behavioural change have always provided some extra benefit and mileage in their products and some work at the social level which the masses were sensitive to perceive.
Casual wear: Let’s take the birth of jeans, that most popular garment worldwide. Blue jeans have changed the way we want to look and feel — casual, comfortable and fashionable. In a town called Nîmes in the south of France, there were monks in the 19th century who used strong material to make protective clothing to shield poor people from winter’s cold. This was the origin and invention of jeans, the practical clothing for multiple and long-term usage.
In the 1870s, a Bavarian immigrant to the US called Levi Strauss imported this cloth to make trousers for people going out to explore the American Wild West. He supposedly made them in Genoa, that’s the origin of the word ‘jeans’. The cloth came to be known as denim from ‘de Nîmes’ which in French means ‘from Nimes’. And so the denim culture started for the masses. While American cowboys used jeans as rugged wear, the category was called by its original denim name to make it more authentic.
This shows us how Americans are loyal to authenticity. France, among the first in the world to revolt against monarchy in 1789, had manifested this with the liberté symbol. France gifted the Statue of Liberty to the US which has since become the symbol of America in New York. You’ll find its smaller scale model on River Seine in Paris. The American style of adopting liberty through the casual denim initiative with Levi’s brand was an incredible contribution to the world. Wearing jeans made people change their behaviour.
Since the 1920s, Americans invented the idea of casual dressing. The lavish European dressing style started to see difficulties after World War I. Then the Great American Depression in the 1930s made clothing more sombre and requiring less dress material. This led to sportswear becoming fashion, the start of the denim culture. In fact, in 1992, the Levi’s company gave it another push by publishing a manual called A Guide to Casual Businesswear. This was sent to 25,000 human resources managers across the US and it set the tone for business casuals. So casual dressing is not just a dress, it is a radical change of behaviour.
Changing the behaviour of the masses through marketing and R&D activities is very different from traditional marketing and R&D. This behaviour changing factor does not happen from the user only. It requires another dimension, that of becoming a continued…
26/11: An Express Series