Will 2012 be the end of everything we know and love? Or will it be the dawning of the Age of Aquarius? These are timely questions because December 21, 2012 is the day that time is scheduled to end. At least according to the Mayans.
The ancient civilization of Mayans lived in Mesoamerica since 2,600 BC and had an extremely complicated and accurate method of keeping track of time based on three separate calendars. The most important one accounts for the "Long Count." That's the enumeration of the period from the beginning of time until the end of it. Really. The end of time. And on December 21st 2012, the Long Count expires. Point zero. Time will be up for the Universe. No more tomorrows. Literally, the end.
And even though New Year resolutions are supposed to go in one year and out the other, there are still 352 days until the end of days. So given the countdown, here, courtesy of the 2012 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, is a list of the top-5 resolutions consumers have made for what remains of 2012:
- Spend More Time with Family & Friends: More than 50% vowed to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with them.
- Get Finances in Order and Get Out of Debt: This resolution used to be lower on people's lists, but not surprisingly, as money was a big source of anxiety last year, 47% of Americans polled resolved to get a handle on their finances.
- Lose Weight (and Exercise More): Over two-thirds of adult Americans are considered overweight, so it's not surprising to find that 42% of them made a resolution to lose weight and exercise more regularly.
- Quit Smoking: Smokers usually try about 4 times before quitting for good, but more over-the-counter therapies than ever provide easy access to proven quit-smoking aids, and 34% are resolved to try them out.
- Getting Organized: Whether closet or desk, everyone can benefit from reorganizing stuff. Einstein said, "Out of clutter, find simplicity," and 27% of consumers are taking this advice.
Other popular resolutions include learning new skills, volunteering, drinking less, and enjoying life more. Nearly 40% of people who make resolutions are still successful after six months – or, if you are keeping count – 179 days from today. It's a good sign that people can successfully change their behavior, and a good lesson for brands too.
As a new year is the quintessential time for both personal and professional planning, we'd like to suggest you add one more resolution to your list: Divest yourself of legacy measures and invest in real loyalty and engagement metrics.
They're consumer-driven, digitally-disposed, and measure the direction and velocity of values and expectations 12 to 18 months – or 534 days on the Mayan calendar – ahead of traditional research methodologies, which is important.
Because if history has proven anything it's that brands that don't have a fix on real and predictive measures of categories, expectations, and engagement will really find their days numbered.
All best wishes for 2012.