The six human needs and how they apply to your branding

For any great brand, the importance of making customers feel happy cannot be understated. Our customers are human beings and they have needs. Recognising our customers’ humanity when engaging with them through our communications is our brand in a nutshell. Good branding precedes good marketing. It is predicated by a sound connection with it’s customers.

Tony Robbins talks of the six human needs often.

Here are the 6 human needs and how to apply them to your branding and marketing:

The 6 human needs - Certainty

1) Certainty 

Our customers need to know how to do business with us. They need to have their questions answered as they arise and reassurance they are making the right decision. This is why delineating our processes and journey mapping the customer experience is important. Often on completing the journey mapping process, a range of pain points and blockages for the customer can come to light. Even when we think that we have a good process, we may only be looking at this from the perspective of the business. Considering the customer’s perspective and delivering the certainty that they need is critical to successful relationships.

Another aspect of our customers’ certainty to be managed is their expectations. This is often the cause of a deal gone wrong. It’s not uncommon for a business to bend over backwards for their customer only to be told they didn’t do a good job. The customer who does not have their expectations managed is a customer who will always expect the universe regardless of you delivering them a solar system. Managing our customer’s expectations not only keeps us accountable, it keeps them accountable as well.

The 6 human needs - Variety

2) Variety

They often say in business, consistency is the key. This is correct. It’s part of the above point of certainty. So where does variety come in? Variety is achieved by remaining true to your brand story and personality while being innovative and interesting about how it is delivered. Marketing campaigns are a great example of this. Good brands deliver campaign after campaign with different focuses while retaining their personality (unless they are actively trying to change for obvious reasons).

Brands need to be omnipresent. Omnipresence in branding and marketing means allowing your brand to be reputable and engaging across a variety of channels and mediums. Brands need to innovate with the times. They need to be on the mediums used by their audiences. Modern brands may use Instagram and LinkedIn for PR, Twitter and blogs to share news, YouTube and Facebook to run campaigns, podcasts and audio-books to gain credibility. They manage their content across these platforms in a planned, integrated manner to continually remain engaged with their audiences. Audiences are savvy. They’ll check up on what brands are doing and how relevant they are staying.

The 6 human needs - significance

3) Significance

The customer is always the hero of the story. The human is always the hero of their own life. Brands that position themselves as the hero in their customer’s journey undermine the significance of that journey. Heroes need guides. Heroes don’t need other heroes. In the Batman Vs Superman movie, the two superheroes both meant well but ended up going out to kill each other. Superman’s guides are Lois and Martha. Batman’s guide is Alfred. They are the reasons behind their charges’ success. As businesses we are the Martha, Lois or Alfred to our customers. They must view us so. That comes from understanding the significance of their story.

The 6 human needs - Love and Connection

4) Love and connection

We must understand our customer’s pains, problems, desires, goals and dreams. Great brands use these to connect with their customers and build a lasting bond. All brand / customer relationships are built bit by bit over repeated engagement. They are built through shared philosophies and trust through competence, reliability, consistency, benevolence and integrity. Modern customers are no longer prepared to play second fiddle to stakeholders and CEO’s. They are much more aware of the world’s inequality and unfairness. The business world has an inherently ruthless nature. This ruthlessness must be softened by brands offering their customers more than just products and services that fill a basic need.

The 6 human needs - growth

5) Growth

This applies again to the hero’s journey. Are we guiding our customers down the path of personal growth? What does personal growth mean to our customers? Does it mean achievement, contentment, purpose, direction? Can we be a safety net to allow them to go after their dreams? A catapult that propels them forward? A fire that gets them motivated? A source of inspiration? A source of knowledge? A mentor, teacher or guide? A sounding board of advice for ideas? A reward for hard work? A way to project status? Knowing what we do to help our customers grow, and knowing what growth actually means to them helps our brands grow too.

The 6 human needs - contribution

6) Contribution

Great brands connect with their customers on a higher level and provide the ability to be part of something greater. They make their customers feel part of a community. They make their customers feel part of a shared ideal. They make their customers feel part of a collective higher purpose. Whether it be protecting our beautiful world, searching the stars for new ones, helping those less fortunate, saving peoples lives, or simply giving back, we all need to know we have peers in the ideals we strive for. Great brands bring people with common ideals and purposes together.

What brand made you really feel human?

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