To be part of a group – to belong – is a basic human desire. On Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs, ‘Love/Belonging’ comes third after physiological needs (such as water, food and sleep) and safety.
There are many ways in which we humans try to fulfill this need. Some are relatively superficial: for example watching the latest celebrity reality TV show so you can join in the discussion about it at work the next day. Whilst others are more meaningful, such as getting married or spending quality time with our parents and grandparents. Of course there is a spectrum of profundity, and where we are looking on that spectrum for a sense of belonging will determine how deeply that need is met.
Yet, no matter where on the spectrum we are, we’re all looking for the same thing. We want to belong. We like feeling accepted by groups of people we respect or admire. This is why advertising that uses lifestyle images, rather than just information about the product or service, is so popular and effective. If owning a product is likely to help us be respected by the people we ourselves respect, then we will be much more likely to want it.
Perhaps an even more important aspect of wanting to belong is this: customers will want to join forces with your business if they feel connected to your ideas and philosophies. We all like joining in with like-minded folks.
If enough people believe in what you’re saying, you may be in the right position to start a marketing ‘movement’.
A Marketing Model for a New Age
Movement Marketing, or Cultural Movement Marketing, is not a new idea. However, the philosophy behind this marketing model is still unfamiliar to some, as it does seemingly go against old school marketing rules.
The main objectives are: to share, rather than sell; to explore what people already value, rather than persuading them to value what you’re offering; and to engage in conversation which is not about you or your product. In essence, it is about listening to what people care about, and engaging with them about it on a very human and personal level. The aim of this is to create a customer base who is on board with your ideas, and who believe in them enough to become natural advocates for your business.
Getting People On-board
So you’re tweeting regularly, keeping up to date on Facebook, connecting with interesting folk on Linkedin, etc. But imagine how useful it would be if you could get your customers tweeting and Facebooking about what you’re doing too.
Whilst it’s unlikely you’ll get a large group of people wanting to communicate directly about your business products, it is possible to inspire a number of customers/service users to want to speak about an idea with you. If you can develop a philosophy that people can truly connect with, that they can care about, and that will satisfy their desire to be a part of something greater than themselves, they’ll naturally want to share your message with others.
Here’s a great example: May 14th saw the release of ‘The Emotion Thesaurus’: a helpful resource for creative writers who want to write more convincingly about their characters emotions. The authors, Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, came up with a pretty neat way of celebrating the publication. They asked followers of their blog to get in touch if they were able to take part in a ‘secret plan’ for the day of the book release.
This secret plan idea was a great hook: it gives the impression of exclusivity, comradeship, and that all important ‘belonging’ to something special. Most importantly, the secret plan was not about promoting their new book. Instead, they asked for a ‘Random Act of Kindness Blitz’ across the blogosphere: a showering of kindness and favours from writers to other writers who had helped them with their work in some way.
Ackerman and Puglisi sent out blog post templates, which could be modified if bloggers wanted to, and they also created a twitter hash-tag for the day. Although the release day was on the 14th, people are still joining in with the campaign. Over 200 tweets with the hash-tag #RAOKBlitz were sent over 3 days, and so far 170 people have blogged about it. Despite the authors’ insistence of not making the Blitz about their book, bloggers have been keen to give credit to the authors for dreaming up such a positive and inspiring campaign for the writing community.
Inspire. Connect. Share.
Think about what your client base are passionate about. What are the core values of your business, and how can you use those to connect more deeply with your customers? What can you give them, by way of information or expertise that will encourage people to get involved with what you’re all about?
Inspired customers will want to connect with you, and when they have a positive experience with you, they will want to share what you are doing with others.
Share your thoughts and insights by leaving a comment!
### About the Guest Author ###
Sarah Chubb is a freelance writer from England who specialises in writing about human psychology. Understanding people and their behaviour is her main speciality and she uses those skills to assist her SEO Company UK develop profitable channel partner programs.