5 Behavioral Needs Brands Must Understand About Their Customers
In 2012, brands are so caught up in catching up to the digital age that they can easily lose sight of the fact that they are working to meet their customers’ most basic needs. Despite the fact that brands are now communicating through blogs, videos and social media, the simple goal of reaching consumers and selling products or services remains unchanged. Both brands and consumers can benefit when brands tap into the 5 basic human needs.
Based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, these principles have deeps roots in psychology, and once brands realize their roles in their customers’ lives, the brands can transcend superficial communication and reach people on a more intimate, psychological level.
The question for brands becomes: “Can our target audience live without us; and if they can, how can our brand reach out to them and meet one or all of their most basic needs?”
It is important for brands to be familiar with the 5 basic human needs so they can develop strategies that help them satisfy the needs of their customers. Once brands realize that most of consumers’ interests are not simply modern wants, but rather ancient needs, we can all move forward and ultimately prosper.
These are the 5 basic human needs; important, psychologically based concepts that brands should consider when shaping their online and offline strategies:
Food, clothing, shelter and personal security are the basic requirements for survival. Brands that offer products or services that are directly tied to survival have an important role in people’s lives. While the market is saturated with choices, it is easy for brands to forget that their products or services meet some of the most basic and necessary of human needs.
There is a demand for food, clothing, shelter and security; however, this does not mean that people want the food, clothing, shelter or security systems that your brand provides. Brands needs to figure out why consumers should choose their products or services over those of their competitors. Brands then need to communicate that to the customer in a genuine and effective way. This is where blogging, video and social media come in; brands have never had so many channels to utilize in order to increase brand awareness and consumer engagement.
2. Connecting, Belonging, Love
Human beings are social creatures who yearn for a sense of connectedness, belonging and love. This is the reason that social media is off the charts in terms of popularity and success today. The need for connectedness, belonging and love is the reason Facebook has hundreds of millions of active registered users today. This human need drives us to tweet, attend Meetups and congregate in niche online communities.
While some have been slow at adapting to the rise in digital technology and social media, most brands are understanding the need to connect with their customers via social media and blogs. Modern times call for modern means, but it’s important for brands to realize that by providing a sense of connectedness, belonging and love, they are doing something that goes deeper than digital.
People require a sense of power and control. Knowledge, self-esteem and achievements are all important components of power. Thanks to the increasing popularity of higher education, communication via the internet and even therapy, people are savvier and more self-aware than ever.
Consumers understand that they possess power, as evidenced by things like the popularity of social media as it relates to customer service, the rise in online product reviews, the strides of crowdsourcing, and the interest in sharing digital achievements via social networks. Brands need to heed these trends and help put some of the power into their customers hands.
People require freedom in order to feel independent and secure. With modernization has come many freedoms, and we are all aware of the many choices available online and offline today. People want to enjoy their freedom of choice and individual autonomy. When people are free, they tend to feel better about themselves and others.
Brands should nurture their customers’ need for freedom by providing choices whenever possible. This means connecting to the consumers and understanding their needs. Brands should integrate their goals with their consumers’ need for freedom in order to build a strong foundation for consumer engagement and brand loyalty. At the end of the day, people want the ability to make choices and pursue the things that make them happy and fulfilled.
People want to enjoy themselves. By nature, people want to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Today, many people have stressful jobs and really look forward to their leisure time. At the same time, no matter what our age, our inner child still likes to have fun.
While fun is a basic human need, it’s one of the brand goals garnering the most media attention in 2011. Human beings’ hunger for fun is why branded content is on the rise this year. Fun is the reason we see more brand-driven Facebook games cropping up every day. Fun is the reason that we love Nowness. It’s the reason why Instagram was an overnight success and microblogging platforms like Tumblr and Pinterest are embraced by millions of people. Quite simply, sometimes people just want — and need — to have fun. Brands should be well aware of the technology available that can help them entertain their customers, thereby enhancing the brand-consumer relationship.
Once you apply the 5 basic human needs to your brand, you can work towards reaching your goals and satisfying your customers’ needs. Then everyone is happy, and isn’t that what it’s all about?