Imagine for a moment that you're a red lipstick. A brand new, cherry red lipstick in a case that makes the perfect CLICK! sound every time you're opened and closed. As you sit, waiting for your new owner to come and declare you to be her perfect shade, think for a moment what 'job' you'll be hired to do once purchased. What comes to mind?
Is it to help your new owner literally paint the town red as she celebrates a night out and wants to be admired? Or, perhaps you'll be responsible for delivering a polished pout as she delivers a keynote address? Or maybe, she thinks of herself as a 'soap and water' kind of person and you'll be there to fuel her ambition to take a risk with something new.
Fun to imagine, but also illuminating. The 'job' that one red lipstick could be 'hired' to do goes significantly beyond 'make my lips red'. So, how do you market, innovate, or communicate your red lipstick to meaningfully go beyond delivering a swipe of red pigmented beeswax?
At The Sound, a global insights, strategy, and innovation agency, we believe in doing work that is brilliant, never boring. We are forever seeking to more deeply understand people (dare you to use the term 'consumer') and tell their stories with beautiful simplicity. We often turn to the Jobs To Be Done theory to explore why people do what they do. Jobs To Be Done is such a powerful insights approach because it starts with people's lives, not products, and helps get underneath what people are really trying to accomplish when they 'hire' a product or service.
Recently, we sought out to understand the key jobs men and women, young and old, in the US, UK, China and India, were trying to accomplish when they used fifty different beauty and grooming products and services.
Amongst these 5,000 people, we discovered that on average, people engage in over 450 beauty-related activities each month! That means in the US-alone, there are over 100 Billion opportunities each month for your beauty brand to get 'hired'.
Analyzing and sorting these billions of activities, we learned that Beauty & Grooming products and services organize themselves into 10 distinct Jobs To Be Done. The Jobs emerge from two core dimensions; people either want to transform, or they want to maintain themselves, and they are motivated by either internal, or external factors.
For example, in the Disrupt & Transform Job, when people want to "stand out from the crowd", cosmetics, a spray tan, or freshly groomed eyebrows with the help from a pro are the top hires. Or quite differently, in Nurture & Evolve, people see Beauty & Grooming as a key way to recharge and revitalize. Helps explain why in these instances people are more likely to reach for their daily vitamins, or facial scrub.
However, the magic of Jobs to Be Done isn't just from identifying the jobs but rather understanding how they align, contrast, and illuminate tensions in real peoples lives.
Take eye creams, for example. In Enhance & Boost, eye cream helps people amp up their confidence, but so does the competition, like self-tanner, or a new pair of shoes. Whereas in Decompress & Reset, the desire to reduce stress means eye cream competes with unwinding to a good book or having a good laugh with great friends.
Understanding these types of nuances can inspire innovation and fuel messaging as you know who you actually compete with and why you're truly being used. Jobs to Be Done is a powerful tool to make sense of people's complicated lives. It reveals the choices they make and why they do what they do, untangling that previously messy mix with beautiful simplicity.
To learn more about The Sound, watch our Jobs To Be Done film, and download the report, click