Basic human drivers


Found a list of basic human drivers in Psychologies magazine - which I love - 16 basic human drivers listed by a guy called Dr Kevin Hogan. Always handy to have on you some basic human drivers. Got me to thinking about whether advertising has lost some of its naked manipultive heritage in the '90s when we all said a brand 'does excatly what it says on the tin' and got all post-modern. Made me yearn for the good old days when advertising promised eternal happiness and we all looked like Darren in Bewitched. 1. Sex/romance
2. Acquisition/saving
3. Bonding/connecting
4. Learn/curiosity
5. Eat
6. Defence/fight or flight
7. Nest
8. Vengence
9. Status
10. Power
11. Loyalty
12. Order and organisation
13. Independence
14. Acceptance
15. Altruism
16. Physical activity

From the Science of Influence by Dr Kevin Hogan


tapping into our basic human needs was one of the big rules that good ole john grant prescribed in the new marketing manifesto

but now that you've thrown p-p-post-modernism into the mix, isn't it worthwhile to look into whether this list of 16 is still relevant today? imho some new basic human needs have emerged and replaced or at least re-interpreted the list

an example: you could certainly make an argument that "authenticity" belongs on the list today

and this change in our needs is one of the fundamental drivers for the current radical change in our marketing models

Posted by: alex at March 9, 2006 07:30 PM

I think you might be absolutely right about authenticity but I also think we need to be rigorous about distinguishing fundamental human needs from trends. Either way there is no denying the potency of authenticity.

I was finding this list useful oddly enough for Sky and the potential of multichannel entertainment to meet needs like bonding, curiosity and nesting.

And I guess I was also intereted in whether one should start with the product or brand and tell people what it does or whether one should start with the consumer and work out what fundamental need it could be portrayed as meeting. There is no easy answer to this and the latter route does cast us all back to the role of Hidden Persuader.

Posted by: Richard at March 9, 2006 11:39 PM

granted, authenticity is too trite an example. its the word du jour.

but the point is, i) working around basic human needs is fundamental to our work, and ii), perhaps there is a need to take a fresh look at whether these needs have evolved at all.

i really like the second part of your comment. when you look at the classic brand marketing model, it all starts with the brand that associates itself with a need.

a lot of the work that you guys and other innovators have done starts with the cultural context and places the consumer and their need/desire at the center, and the brand at their periphery.

i think that the next iteration of marketing will have culture and the consumer at its core, not the brand.

Posted by: alex at March 10, 2006 07:48 PM

I think that agencies like St Lukes were far more about driving a cultural agenda than we were at HHCL - most of what we were on about was driven from the brand or organisation out. This was because Adam Lury belived that consumer driven strategies derived from research were driving the industry towards generic thinking.

And i am still fanatical about the planning role being to create new (important word) roles for the brand to play in people's lives - still brand centric to be honest. Where i have got to is what the nature of this role is.

A fellow planner gave me happiness by Will Ferguson to read on holiday. You know the book about what would happen if a self help book ever worked. It ends by concluding that we are happy when we are searching for happiness rather than when we attain it. This made both of us think that advertising used to be about promising happiness (by claiming to satisfy basic human needs) rather than by actually deliveing it (which is the key selling point of religion as well). But that we have lost this knack - we either tell people about the brand (as you suggest) or we claim to be consumer driven but only at a very superficial level - what I call the mother and baby parking syndrome.

Which is all very rambling. The end result is to say that planning is still about creating new roles for brands in people's lives but that those roles need to satisfy fundamental needs. I wrote the Mothercare strategy in Strategy safari using this technique.

Posted by: richard at March 12, 2006 01:49 PM

Human needs haven't changed for 10,000 years. I think you can reasonably argue that they haven't changed for 100,000 years.

There are some basic human needs. Knowing what they are is essential rather than useful IMHO to doing what we planners ought to do.

The "happy when we are searching for happiness rather than when we attain it" thought is a lovely one.

It's true because one aspect of how humans have evolved has the collateral effect that we need to feel there is a purpose (in the sense of an importance) in what we do - although there is no more importance in what we do than there is in what any other animal does. Hence purpose = (one component of) happiness. No purpose = lacking (one component of) happiness.

Ginny Valentine is on the money, I think, in pointing out that the change that's happened over the past decade has been the replacement of the classic problem/solution narrative (what she would call the Proppian narrative) by a new no-problem/enhancement narrative.

This presumably came about from qual research where respondents objected to being depicted as being people with problems, and this "defect" in the copy was remedied by depicting them as "already-sorted" and the elixir/brand that once magically transformed the situation now just made an already-satisfactory situation even more delightful.

Posted by: David O'Hanlon at April 23, 2006 10:50 PM

>>i think that the next iteration of marketing will have culture and the consumer at its core, not the brand.

You mean like direct marketing has since the 1920s?

Posted by: Brian at June 10, 2006 07:51 PM