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How much consumers engage with your brand depends on how motivated they are, keep reading to learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to motivating your consumers into action.

Some people are motivated to buy fancy coffee. Others may be motivated to go to the gym. But how can we, as marketers, use the principles of motivation to encourage our consumers to engage with our brand?

What is motivation?

According to Google, motivation is ‘a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a certain way’. This definition is great at getting the overall point across, but how do we motivate consumers specifically? We want them to actively listen to our message, become familiar with our brand, buy our products and services and hopefully become loyal customers. With this in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into consumer motivation. 

The motivational process and it’s implications

In the motivational process of consumer behaviour, discomfort occurs due to a gap between your consumer’s desired state and their actual state. This is the difference between where they are, and where they’d like to be. For example, you may be stuck at home or in the office, but silently dreaming of drinking cocktails on a beach. Just me?

The greater the gap between actual and desired state, the greater the tension and motive to act. 

Marketers cannot change the actual state, so marketing efforts go towards changing the desired state. They also go towards activating the need to remind people what it is they desire. So in the tourism industry, this is where they might share the image of a piña colada by the pool on a billboard. 

This process explains why people behave the way that they do, and adds more meaning to our original definition of motivation. 

Utilitarian needs vs hedonic needs

So we’ve established that motivation is caused through unmet needs and the desire to fulfill them. We can see these needs as a lack of something important to the individual. 

If you studied a social science in school you may be familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

The idea behind the hierarchy is that essential needs, like food and shelter, must be met before more subjective needs like self fulfillment and accomplishment can be met. 

This brings about the idea that some needs are critical, whilst some needs are ideal. As marketers, we tend to separate these needs into two types based on this assumption:

  1. Utilitarian needs- basic needs offered from the functional benefits of a product/ service. For example, the functionality of a piece of clothing.
  2. Hedonic needs- offer symbolic and emotional benefits. For example, how stylish a piece of clothing is. 

In wealthier countries, most people are fortunate enough that their basic survival needs are taken care of. This means that many consumers are looking to satisfy their emotional and aesthetic needs, even if the product is brought primarily for physiological reasons. 

A great example of this is McCain’s ‘We are Family’ campaign, which is focused around bringing people together through meal times. Despite the functional value of the product (nutrition), McCain chooses to appeal to the emotive side of their product. This further motivates consumers to purchase, and also builds a positive image around the brand.

What about getting people to listen in the first place?

We’ve discussed that it’s important to appeal to the consumers’ hedonic needs, providing value that they will appreciate. But we also need to boost a person’s motivation to process the relevant information we’re providing. How do we do this? Here’s 2 ways:

  1. Using novel stimuli in messaging that makes to more interesting to consume.
  2. Understanding your consumers, delivering the value that they want. 

A great example of an eye catching campaign is the I Am Nikon campaign. It uses powerful imagery and motivational music to attract your attention in the first instance. But more than this, they use lots of different scenarios of photography to identify with different consumers, and draw upon the artistic and emotional value that the camera brings. Click on the image if you’d like to check out the video for inspiration (but don’t forget to come back to summarise your learning!).

To summarise…

So there we have it, consumer motivation simplified. Lets recap the main takeaway points for your marketing:

  • Motivation occurs when there is a gap between the desired state and the actual state. 
  • Hedonic needs appeal the the emotional and aesthetic desires of an individual, and can be used in your marketing to create a greater motivational pull.
  • Motivation will be increased if you understand the needs of your customers, and you present information in novel and interesting ways. 

Has this blog got your cognitive juices flowing? If so, you may our blog on building consumer attitudes towards your brand, which you can find here: