Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement (ADKAR)


ADKAR is a change management process that stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement. These five stages represent the critical steps an individual must go through to make a successful change in their life, whether it’s learning a new skill or adopting a new habit. As a marketer, you can use this framework to adapt your communication strategy to your customers’ needs and help them efficiently navigate the adoption of new products and services.

The first stage of ADKAR is Awareness, and in marketing terms, it means making sure that your target audience is aware of the value your products or services offer. You can achieve this through various communication channels such as advertising, email marketing, social media campaigns, and more. Be sure to use messages that are clear, concise, and highlight the main benefits of your product or service.

The second stage is Desire, where individuals become interested in the change and are motivated to take action. To succeed here, you must present personalized and relevant messaging that appeals to your customers’ current needs and preferences. You can use productivity tools such as data analytics and surveys to collect insights into your customers’ behavior and tailor your messaging accordingly.

The third stage is Knowledge, where individuals seek information on how to make the change happen. As a marketer, you must provide accurate, relevant, and accessible information through various channels such as website content, tutorials, or workshops. Utilize content marketing to educate your customers on how to use your product or service and deliver key information that will encourage them to take action.

The fourth stage is Ability, where individuals acquire the necessary skills to make the change happen, whether it’s learning a new language or using a new software tool. As a marketer, you must consider customer experience and ensure that you provide your customers with resources and support to achieve their objectives smoothly. You can use customer feedback and metrics to improve your products or services and streamline the customer experience.

The fifth stage is Reinforcement, where individuals integrate their new behavior into their daily lives, build confidence, and maintain the change over time. As a marketer, you must create loyalty programs, incentives, tools, and content that support retention, customer engagement, and loyalty. Use data analysis to identify areas for improvement and refine your approach to create long-term customers.


Book: The Agile Brand Guide: Marketing Operations (2023) by Greg Kihlström