One of the things that makes life interesting are the gaps we all have between what we feel we should do and what we actually do.
These are our Life Gaps; the space in-between staying out or going home early, the burger or the salad, the savings or the new shoes, the gym or the pub, giving up smoking or justifying a few, sticking to your budget or blowing it.
It is like we live with little angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other. Moderating life and keeping these two conscience buddies under control is of course up to each of us. This can be a challenging job at the best of times.
We all know what we ‘should’ do most of the time. Our parents told us, the doctor reminds us, social messages fill our feeds with idealized images of how life should be thanks to the Jones’ next door or influencer-washed selfies. The virtues, the must-dos, the if you know what’s good for you, the right sort of diet, and the right shade of beige for the lounge. This is the cold light of reason that points us in the direction, helps us lose weight and keeps us living within our means.
But the other little one we live with doesn’t care about all that. Exploiting our impulsive, live for now rather than tomorrow thinking we can easily find ourselves taking the day off the gym, having that extra glass of wine, the odd social smoke, worrying about the money later, and not caring about not getting around to it.
Every now and then we need to balance these books and reconcile the gaps between how we know we should live and how we actually live. We sit down in the cold light of day and reframe how we plan life. We work out a budget, we commit to a diet, we vow to give up vices, we promise to tidy ourselves up.
There are key reconciliation times when this happens. January is the big planning month when the coming year is discussed and resolutions made. Monday mornings bring a spike in enquires about diet plans, gym memberships, insurance and mortgage refinancing appointments. The result of weekend reflection.
Support for managing our life gaps is abundant. There are billion-dollar industries trying to push us into temptation’s way every day and beacons of virtue we can call upon to rescue our wellbeing, our busted credit cards and our saggy waistlines.
The human nature in us tends to err towards low effort solutions to complex problems. We love quick fixes, simple solutions, instant results, and proven plans. We easily relate to well-packaged 5-day programmes, handy apps, or the encouraging endorsement of fabulous people we would like to be like.
For marketers, the big question is: “whose side is your brand on?”
Are you team Id tempting people to be naughty and live for the moment by appealing to the child in the adult?
Are you the authoritative parent telling people how they should behave?
Are you the fellow adult sharing the experience in an empathetic way?
Thinking about your business in terms of Life Gaps is a way of being more customer-centred. It begs the question of what your brand does for people and why should they reach for you instead of something else?