Should B2C product managers just focus on creating addictive products?

I am sure if you are a seasoned PM by now then you must have definitely read Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal.

The book focus on the “Hook Model” for building habit-forming products.

The Hook Model is a way of describing a user’s interactions with a product as they pass through 4 phases:

  • a trigger to begin using the product
  • an action to satisfy the trigger
  • a variable reward for the action, and
  • an investment in the form of asking the user to give some combination of time, data, effort, social capital, or money.

Comprehensively, it makes the product more valuable to the user. As the user goes through these phases, he builds habits in the process.

And I am sure that you must be pretty convinced to deploy this model as it impacts your 4 key metrics :

However, I believe that it is imperative to include the key element of “ethics” in this model to make it more meaningful & helpful for the users.

Let’s relook the model with this lens and understand its nuance.

🔫 Is Trigger ethical?

In this regard, click-bait notifications, unrealistic promises in the email, notifications generating FOMO — these all classify in the unethical zone.

However, notifications by an app such as Water reminder solves a real user problem & help in enhancing the user’s life. Such solutions successfully qualify the Trigger phase.

🎬 Is Action helpful?

You got a notification from Water reminder & ended up drinking 2 liters of water. The action turned out to be helpful for you and helps in addressing your problem statement in a non-invasive manner.

🏆 Is Variable reward non-addictive?

Let’s take an example of the fitness app Cult. It provides an option to book workouts at your nearest fitness center. You have been attending the cult session on a regular basis for a week and you got reward points to buy yourself a healthy salad. You are now motivated to attend more sessions and repeat the success cycle.

💰 Is Investment intuitive in nature?

Continuing from the above example — You are elated now with the complete offering of Cult and consistent improvement in your health. You are ready to onboard your friends and family members & plan your workouts in the community.

That’s how the circle of the hook framework gets fuelled.

Thanks for reading!
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Senior Product Manager @AngelOne, ex-@Flipkart, @Cleartrip. Interests: Product, Technology, Strategy, Startups, Fintech & E-commerce!

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Rohit Verma

Rohit Verma

Senior Product Manager @AngelOne, ex-@Flipkart, @Cleartrip. Interests: Product, Technology, Strategy, Startups, Fintech & E-commerce!

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