By Bryan Kramer | Commentary

6 Basic Human Needs to Rethink Business

As entrepreneurs, it’s our job to build relationships with our audience that weaves in and out of our human needs.

I’ve adapted these  “6 Basic Human Needs” as a foundation from others in business and in life. I’d like to challenge you to go through and see if you can try one or two on that might be something you accept lean into.

Perhaps you might say honestly to yourself, “I’m not ok with uncertainty.” Then you can say to yourself, “how do I become more ok with uncertainty?”

This works the same way with each need as you want to make any choice in business. If you are upset at someone, or want to go on vacation but don’t have the money, want to retire but don’t know what’s next, think about how to be seen as an expert but have a saboteur over your shoulder ….and the list goes on.

If you need more of something, then which one or two do you need more of? See how this works?

human needs

1. Certainty.

We all want to know what’s going to happen. People with certainty as a primary need are the ones who skip to the last few pages of a novel before they even start at page 1.

As entrepreneurs, we all want to surprise and delight our customers, but remember that most of your potential customers want to know the results of the experience before they buy. Certainty happens with trust – trust of a friend explaining their experience, or trust with the brand because they’ve experienced it firsthand.

Certainty – or consistency – is one of the hardest needs to fulfill for brands, especially if you’re selling service where interactions can be unpredictable. Deliver certainty to your customers along with a great brand and you’ll have customers for life.

2. Variety.

Everybody loves an adventure. A ride. The unpredictable. Variety is what keeps horror movies as a thriving genre. For marketing, it’s no secret that the customer journey has been turned upside down, in that there isn’t one sales pipeline or channel that works alone anymore.

Today, every story should be told within the context of where it’s delivered – social, mobile, SMS text messaging – because consumers are using every one of these channels.

We love the variety of channels we have to choose from and use each one for slightly different purposes. As a consumer, using, for example, the in-app chat feature in the game “Words with Friends” to nurture a relationship is fun and new.

3. Significance.

Simply put, we all need meaning in our lives in order to feel good about what we are doing. We need to be acknowledged for a job well done. We need to own our own hilltop somewhere. When brands find ways to personalize their stories to a 1:1 level, it gives their audience the significance they crave.

It’s achieved by listening, acknowledging, and reflecting it back to the originator in a way that makes them feel special and important. A significant challenge for many global brands and people today.

4. Connection.

This basic need is the primary reason why society exploded and will never go away. The reason we join them is to belong to something we all believe in with a common purpose. People need to feel connected – to themselves, their families, their community, their country, their planet, their Universe – and for brands, it goes without saying that if you can’t connect with your audience, you need to identify the problem and approach it differently.

The stories we tell have to connect as simply as possible to the core of your audience. In order to do this, it takes real authenticity and transparency. I know these are the buzzwords of the day, but I don’t use them loosely. It’s that simple.

5. Growth.

I constantly marvel at people who proclaim that they’re happy with themselves exactly as they are right now. Every human being has a need to grow – mentally, cerebrally, psychologically, ethically – in other words, we were built to never stop learning. As innovators, part of our role is to help others become successful through teaching and learning.

When we understand how and why to use a product, or why we should buy this over that, that is the information we can use to grow our knowledge – as long as it’s created with authenticity.

The challenge for us today with so many ways to distribute and consume information is that it’s a persistent battle, noisy and never-ending. Good news: Also never-ending is our insatiable human need to grow.

6. Contribution.

Everyone needs to feel like what they’re doing is making a difference. At work, we need to feel like an important contributor to the success of the company. We donate our time to help others in need. And online, we offer our opinions and reviews to contribute to a conversation.

In social, it’s called “engagement”, to describe when you actively participate in groups instead of just joining them and passively watching from the sidelines. When you’re engaged, you increase your chances to make connections with others sharing common interests.

As a brand, you can tap into this basic need by making your customers feel like they’re making a difference in the success of your mission. You can solicit your employees for new ideas, or match up mentors together to share experience and information. In any case, we all need to feel like what we’re doing matters. Read that last sentence again.

KEY TAKEAWAY: We are all connected as humans and share basic needs that when activated, can be powerful for entrepreneurs and business owners. Tapping into this core set of values in your initiatives will give your efforts a boost of human energy that will activate your entire life into action.

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