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The Habitual – Vol. 1 | DiGo – The Positive Behavior Change Agency™

The Habitual by DiGo

Well, hello.

Welcome to The Habitual. It’s nice to see you here. We hope you’ll hang out for a bit, because we have something important to tell you about big changes we’re making at DiMassimo Goldstein (DiGo).

After more than 25 years of doing well, we came together as a team and decided to do only good. We agreed to be guided by a single mission—to help form better habits that change lives for the better.

You see, people don’t always do what they know they should do. Much of marketing makes it worse. We’re not afraid to admit that, in the past, we too have contributed to that noise. Too often we have worked on things we did not believe in. But not anymore.

From now on we have decided to work exclusively on promoting better habits by building brands and businesses using Positive Behavior Change marketing.

If we can help anyone eat betterbreathe easierlive longersleep smarterlearn fasterlove deeperfeel mentally healthieremotionally stronger, or financially more well, then we believe the investment in creating those stories will have been worth it.

Welcome to the new DiGo – The Positive Behavior Change Agency™️.

We are a community of people working around the globe with diverse talents all committed to being agents of Positive Behavior Change. We work with brands that help people make better choices and form better habits. When they succeed, better things happen for us all—individuals, organizations, and the world we all share. Helping everyone reach their potential is how we intend to reach ours.

We take this stance seriously, which is why we’ve decided to relaunch our brand, starting with The Habitual by DiGo.

The Habitual is a new publication from DiGo – The Positive Behavior Change Agency™ dedicated to helping people, businesses, and brands form better habits. Why? Because habits are the result of committed, consistent, and continuous Positive Behavior Change. There has never been a more important time for a positive statement. This is ours.

If you share our view or want to join our cause, we’ll help you find the right Positive Behavior Change for you. If you want to work for us, let Felicia know. If you want us to work for you, reach out to Lee. And if you want to learn more about Positive Behavior Change marketing, Mark is ready to chat. Finally, we’d love it if you helped share our first publication, but no pressure.

Oh, and that platypus? More on him later. 

Follow us on our social channels.

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DiMassimo Goldstein (DiGo) is the world’s first creative agency focused exclusively on promoting better habits by building brands and businesses using Positive Behavior Change marketing. Over the years, we’ve lent our expertise to life-changing brands, including BetterHelp, Shutterstock, Wondrium, Partnership to End Addiction, WW (formerly Weight Watchers), SodaStream, Samsung, Echelon, Pfizer, and CVS Health, among many others across various industries. Headquartered in New York City, DiGo has teams across the globe and is committed to creating an enriching environment of diversity, equality, inclusion, and creativity. For more information, visit digobrands.com.

How to Improve LTV: Start. Stick. Stay.

Looking to improve your LTV (Lifetime Value of a Customer)? I have a story for you.

My friend, a former CMO now a fitness entrepreneur, told me about his version of “The Big Problem.”

I’m willing to bet it’s a lot like the biggest problem you face in your industry.

The second week of every year is the biggest week of gym membership sign-ups. Talk about a great start.

After a visit or two, 9 out of 10 of those new gym members won’t be seen at the gym again.

Fewer than 2 out of 100 will be there by the end of the year.

Think about the influx of gym membership promotions you see leading up to the new year. When putting pencil to paper, that’s a lot of money for an advertiser (like you) to spend on customer acquisition when the retention rate is less than 2%. For all the cost of acquiring 100 new gym members, more than 98 don’t stay.

I can tell you similar stories across a broad range of industries. People don’t do what they know is best for them.

More often than not, they don’t follow through on their best intentions. Your job as a marketer is to help them. And our job is to help you improve your LTV by getting your customers to not only stick, but stay.

START – STICK – STAY

Our 3Ms Model of Positive Behavior Change Marketing process sustains Motivation and increases Momentum through the Moments that Matter for getting more members from START to STAY and beyond.

When twice as many stay, you improve your LTV by twofold, your growth accelerates, and you help many more people create habits that help them flourish. And those habits mean they will stick with your brand.

Would you like to improve your LTV? To get things going, we can give you a 3Ms analysis of your industry and show you how DiGo can blow that out into great creative for your brand. And great creative is the ultimate economic multiplier.

Let me know if you’re interested.

Helping creative people build a creative habit.

Creative people hate tools they view as uncreative, and the word “stock” smacks of satisficing sameness.

Yet, not all creative asset companies are created equal.

While art directors, designers, and creative directors have been challenged with lower budgets, canceled shoots, and tighter schedules, many avoided “stock” sites and services for fear of stock sameness.

DiGo client Shutterstock had built something very different – a great set of tools for enhancing creativity, and a remarkable range of assets that seemed to be anything but “stock.”

Since most of the budget would go into connecting creators, we’d need to hijack news and memes to get our message out. The Fyre Festival fiasco presented us with our first opportunity. Within 72 hours, using $2000 of Shutterstock assets, we created a video that was ultimately seen by millions – nearly 700,000 on YouTube alone. Though it was not a SuperBowl commercial, since it did come out during SuperBowl season, one subtheme of comments was, “Shutterstock wins the SuperBowl with Fyre Festival Video.”

The theme of our winning campaign: It’s Not Stock. It’s Shutterstock.


Challenge

The creative tools and content at Shutterstock unlock potential, freeing creative people to realize their best ideas. However, our research showed that a mental-behavioral block was preventing most creative people from enjoying these benefits.

Desired Positive Behavior Change

From closed-rigid-creativity to open-nimble-creativity measured by increasing engagement, usage, and revenue-per-creative person on Shutterstock. 

Positive Behavior Change Idea

It’s not stock. It’s Shutterstock.


Helping more people get into therapy.

BetterHelp reached out to DiGo to change behavior and get more people into therapy.

The largest therapy brand in North America, BetterHelp’s commitment to address America’s behavioral and mental health crisis exceeds even their market share. 

In fact, the problem was so big that taking market share wouldn’t solve it. Less than half of the people who need therapy actually get it. The only way to get many more people the better help they need is to change behavior on a massive scale. 

Doing this started with a business analysis and identifying the behaviors that would drive impact and value. Many more people would need to try therapy through BetterHelp.

Through our 3M’s Behavior Change Marketing process, we discovered a key insight that unlocked motivation and inspired action: 

People suffering from anxiety or depression also suffer from a lot of bad advice.

While much of the advice the target audience was enduring was well-meaning, it made a lie of the notion that non-professional care could address these painful conditions.


Challenge

Less than half the people who need therapy actually get it. BetterHelp is the largest therapy brand in North America. The way they grow their impact is to grow therapy. They asked DiGo to help them crack this challenge, so we did.

Desired Positive Behavior Change

From relying on the well-meaning but poor advice of non-professionals and white-knuckling it alone to getting better in therapy. This adds up to millions of more people taking advantage of professional psychotherapy.

Positive Behavior Change Idea

Advice that actually helps.


Helping families build an anti-addiction habit.

From “This is your brain on drugs” to “To end addiction, start with connection.”

Over 25 years, we helped the Partnership evolve as the nation’s drug misuse and addition challenges evolved.

Partnership for a Drug-Free America was the largest single-issue public service advertising campaign. A later iteration, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids helped hundreds of thousands of families. Throughout this history, DiGo had a front-row seat for some of the most consequential behavior-change marketing experiments of the 21st Century.

In 2018, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and CASA (the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse) merged, and we helped create a new strategy and lead the process of creating a new identity – the Partnership to End Addiction.

It was an identity with a “moon shot.” The bold mission to end addiction as a public scourge was embedded in the name, signaling an extraordinary level of commitment.


Challenge

After guiding the Partnership through the creation and launch of their new identity, we faced a mental health crisis in America together. Our job was to get their proven family-based solutions used by many more families.

Desired Positive Behavior Change

From fearfully disconnected to confidently connected, as measured by dramatic growth in the use of the Partnership’s digital and human-to-human services. 

Positive Behavior Change Idea

Ending Addiction Starts With Connection.


Suddenly, a global pandemic was sucking up all the attention. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? But something was growing underneath. A mental health and addiction crisis. Families driven suddenly together began to notice things that had been hidden by normal life. In other homes, isolation accentuated problems or incubated new ones.

Naming another crisis wasn’t going to help. Where hope is invisible, denial is invincible. 

The behavioral scientists and parent coaches at the Partnership knew a hopeful secret and we decided that our job was to get it out there.

We needed to speak directly about the relationship between young adults and the adults who love them. 

Our message, “To end addiction, start with connection.”

We faced a novel set of production challenges that we decided to transform into blessings. Unable to shoot, we shifted our creative attention toward the emotive potential of animation.

Working with Bonfire, we create emotional stories of alienation and connection, accentuated by gorgeous music from The Lumineers.

The results exceeded all expectations. We made hundreds of thousands of connections. We helped the Partnership change behavior and save lives.

Our Positive Behavior Change Line In the Sand.

For 25 years, we’ve tried to inspire greatness. 

For well over a decade, we have been honing our approach to behavior-change marketing. 

Then, in 2021, we came together and decided, going forward, Positive Behavior Change would be our everything. 

Of course, being a creative agency, we wrote a statement. 

And of course, it is a positive one. Read it here:

If Ever There Was a Time For 

A Positive Statement, 

This Is It.

After more than 25 years of doing well, we all came together and decided to do only good.

We agreed to be guided by a single mission – to help change the behaviors that change lives for the better.

People don’t always do what they know they should. Much of marketing makes it worse. In this industry, too often we have worked on things we did not believe in.

Not anymore. Not here. If we can help anyone eat better, breathe easier, live longer, sleep smarter, learn faster, love deeper, feel mentally healthier, emotionally stronger, or financially more well, then we believe the investment will have been worth it.

DiGo is a community of people with diverse talents all committed to being agents of positive change. We champion the brands that help people make better choices and form more empowering habits. When they succeed, better things happen for us all – individuals, organizations, and the world we all share.

Helping everyone reach their potential is how we intend to reach ours.

There has never been a more important time for a positive statement.

This is ours.

The 3Ms Model for Behavior Change Marketing

We have developed, tested and proven a single core model for building positive behavior change marketing brands and businesses.

Our results show that applying this model can improve return on marketing spend by up to 10x and more.

The 3Ms Model for Behavior Change Marketing

MOTIVATION and MOMENTUM in the MOMENTS that matter

The 3Ms model says that you build a behavior change brand by combining Motivation x Momentum in the Moments that Matter. So, let’s break it down.

Motivation comes from meaning or why you want to do a thing. The more motivated you are to do something, the more likely you are to do it.

Momentum is the energy for moving forward in a given moment, and in that moment, there must be a trigger to action, and that trigger to action needs to be easy. Easy to see, easy to comprehend, easy to achieve. But ease is not enough for optimal results. Inner momentum must be activated as well. 

Moments that Matter are the decision points along the journey that make all the difference. It makes sense to find the bottlenecks and use behavior change marketing to blast them wide open.

Why one core model?

As an expert marketer, you already bring a wealth of models to building brands and revenues. While much of what you know will be applicable, there are crucial differences in building a brand that people choose to change their lives by changing their behavior.

Building a brand for behavior change is simply different. 

While differentiation matters most in building a brand, motivation is essential in building a behavior change brand.

When we want to change behavior—say, to get fit, lose weight or do more deep work—we tend to focus on motivation, so having the brand enhance motivation at each key decision point is essential.

Yet, there’s something even more important than motivation. Momentum matters even more.

Making it easy to do a thing works better than making it matter more. If you want to change something, find the key behavior and use your design brain to make it easier to do.

If you are doing it for yourself, it works this way: 

  • To drink more water, put the glass of water by your bed at night.
  • To get on a regular sleep schedule, leave your alarm clock (or phone) across the room.
  • To eat healthier, put the healthy foods at eye-level in your pantry or fridge.

If you are doing it to improve your marketing results and your customer, client or member success, then design momentum into your key touchpoints.

Designing in “ease” isn’t enough. Inner momentum is more than just ease. It’s activating the fast-thinking brain. Behavioral science and marketing testing have uncovered hundreds of ingenious ways to do this, each of which can add significant value.

At DiGo, we’re using the 3Ms Model of Behavior Change Marketing to build the brands and businesses that help people, organizations and communities thrive. If that’s you, let’s talk!

Advertising for Behavior Change is Different.

This story starts with a CMO getting fired, two months into a hundred million dollar campaign.

Fired, after hiring one of the best agencies in the business.

The campaign was expensive to produce. The whole team was so excited that they added a million dollars to the production budget to produce an additional spot.

The goal of the campaign was to recruit more users and activate them.

And here’s the rub – from the day it launched, this campaign drove recruitment numbers down.

Down is what led to out.

The CMO had been a strong marketer, with a record of selling consumer packaged goods, and sweet and salty snacks. But this was a different kind of organization – a behavior change marketing company.


The problem was, this company didn’t understand that they were in the behavior change marketing business.


All the senior leaders came from private equity or packaged goods.
Yet this company had a mission to help people improve their wellness. It did so through memberships and subscriptions with a heavy component of education and community.

A year earlier, our friend and former client had gone over to this company to work for the now-former CMO.

Our friend also had a package goods marketing background. To help our friend succeed in his new role, we told him,


“You’re playing a whole new game now, and this game is different. It’s behavior change marketing. That means recruiting members, selling subscriptions, building relationships, smoothing out gaps, drags, and blocks in the membership experience, designing for motivation and momentum at each moment, building a community. You’re playing the long game now.”

He listened politely and then said, “I think you’re right, but I’m new here. My boss has a plan. Let’s see how it goes.”

A year later, after the failed campaign and selling season, we got the call.

“The game plan you were telling me about… I need that now. And I don’t have much time to show a success.”


Behavior change must be taken in steps. It is a series of actions.

Actions are the result of motivation and ease coming together at the same time. The brand can help drive motivation, while design informed by behavioral science can reduce friction and complexity.

Solving the wrong behavior problem at the wrong time is too common. In the true story I told at the top of this post, the failed campaign aimed to recruit new members but focused on a promise to help them through the challenging times down the road.


After that decision, nothing else really mattered. The wonderful creativity of the agency people who worked on the campaign didn’t matter. The amazing production values and gorgeous editing of the spots didn’t matter.

The brilliant integration across platforms, digital and traditional advertising didn’t. The excellent media planning and buying only served to spread the fatal message virus. The wonderful public relations program only ensured that failure would be a famous one.

If you are in the business of helping people make better decisions or form more empowering habits, you are in the business of behavior change. Whether healthier, wealthier, wiser, kinder, saner, calmer, less anxious, better for the planet, happier, fitter, more resilient, a better citizen, better educated, or even just better entertained, if you are helping people to become better versions of themselves, you are in the business of behavior change.


If you are disrupting a category, you ask people to make a different decision and build a different habit. You are in the business of behavior change.
If you are working at a non-profit trying to scale positive impact, you are in the business of behavior change.


Marketing, branding, advertising, design, content, and community building for behavior change are different.

When marketers are new to behavior change, their agency contacts aren’t truly knowledgeable about the full range of behavior change marketing skills.


Most agency experience is still packaged goods experience. Shallow strategic thinking about awareness and preference may be appropriate for driving decisions between adjacent cans of soup on a grocery store shelf. This level of thinking is misapplied to behavior change

That’s why assembling a team to tackle these challenges is different too. When you work with the right team, you can achieve amazing and important things.

We can help great marketers become successful behavior change marketers. CEOs and Investors bring us in or recommend us for exactly this purpose.

This story has a happy ending.

We got to work with our friend on this brand and put in twelve quarters of record revenue growth before he left to take the CMO job at another company where his now proven behavior change marketing chops would be highly valued.

Of course, he hired us to work there too, so we got another great brand to work on. And the new management of the now successful first company have been great clients to us ever since.

Increasing recruitment led to over five million people enjoying the life-changing benefits of our client’s excellent service.

As one of our clients likes to say, “Now that ain’t salty snacks.”

About DiMassimo Goldstein (DiGo)

DiMassimo Goldstein (DiGo) is a Behavior Change Marketing agency, trusted by sophisticated marketers and committed change agents to understand complex situations quickly and to bring forward highly-effective creative solutions.

DiGo helps life-changing brands grow by helping people make more inspiring decisions and form more empowering habits.

The brand, advertising and design agency’s clients, from start-ups to blue chips, have built legendary brands that inspire action. 

DiGo is applied behavioral scientists, growth strategists, brand planners, designers, writers, marketers, data storytellers, technologists, social and digital media experts, project managers, producers, artists and brand leaders – all of them change agents.