Fiscal Incentive

A UPenn researcher has released a study finding that obese people who are paid by the kilo to lose weight are more likely to succeed than those who attempt to slim down for their personal satisfaction alone (via New Scientist).  Turns out there are more crazies out there than you’d think this isn’t so crazy an idea: similar studies have already been published, and several organizations have forged ahead with similar plans… including IBM and the British government.

There is some reason to hope that it’ll actually work.  For one, obesity is incredibly costly to employers (the CDC estimates it costs companies more than $56 billion a year).  And similarly-structured incentives have already been deployed effectively against everything from cocaine addiction to developing-world truancy.

This is relevant in several ways.  Not only is the fiscal incentive model already being applied to recycling, but research suggests that excessive waistlines may indeed be a significant driver of global warming in the first place.  But it doesn’t appear to be good news for meta-brand green or meta-brand healthy — it essentially suggests that an entirely unrelated premise (cash) is a more compelling story than the core foundations of the (meta) brand.

No surprise.  There’s only one type of brand that will only perform better with a cash incentive, and will tip back to poor performance as soon as that discount dries up.  It’s a weak brand.

In other words, there’s work to be done.  And it doesn’t look like the cash angle is going to be all that viable in the short term anyway…

© Ryan Cunningham 2008

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thoughts at the collision of business, brand and creativity

I'm Ryan Cunningham. I help companies and culture play nice with each other. At CREATURE we call this Brand Strategy, a term that carries a nice halo of reliability and structure. Here, I'm just another guy who thinks about the world and writes it down from time to time.

The result is a pile of knowledge to be used in, and for, the future. Feel free to sift through the heap for useful connections.

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