You’re meeting the needs of your audience and they’re satisfied with your organization. But maybe “satisfied” is just a starting place, because you have the potential to connect with your audience in a deeper way.
Could you be connecting with your audiences’ emotional motivations? Those deep, sometimes unconscious, desires that drive behavior in all of our interactions?
Recent marketing scholarship has shown the immense value of connecting to people’s emotional motivations. Motista, a consumer intelligence firm, conducted a two-year research project and literature review to identify 300 universal motivating emotions.
As explained to the Harvard Business Review:
“To measure their impact on consumer behavior, we conducted intercept surveys of more than one million U.S. consumers through thousands of websites, gathering data across 30 industries and 400-plus brands that included measures of brand consideration, trial, repurchase, advocacy, customer satisfaction, brand differentiation, and emotional connection.”
The researchers determined which emotional motivators are most powerfully associated with customer behavior and customer value. They also measured the degree to which connecting to those motivators influences customer behavior.
And what did they find?
“When companies connect with customers’ emotions, the payoff can be huge,” according to the Harvard Business Review article. “Given the enormous opportunity to create new value, companies should pursue emotional connections as a science - and a strategy.”
The researchers provided the example of a major bank which introduced a credit card for Millennials that was designed to inspire emotional connection. Usagee among Millennials increased by 70% and new account growth rose by 40%.
So what kind of emotional motivators drive behavior?
Here are some of the top motivating factors, according to the researchers at Motista:
- People want to stand out from the crowd. You can connect with this motivator by helping people project a unique social identity.
- People want to have confidence in the future. You can connect with this motivator by helping people to perceive the future as better than the past, to feel hopeful and have a positive mental picture of what is to come.
- People want to feel a sense of wellbeing. You can connect with this motivator by helping people to feel that their life measures up to their expectations. You can help them feel stress-free, without conflicts or threats.
- People want to have a sense of freedom. You can connect with this motivator by helping people to act independently, without obligation or restriction.
- People want to feel a thrill. You can connect with this motivator by helping people to experience pleasure and excitement, or participate in exciting, fun events.
- People want a sense of belonging. You can connect with this motivator by helping people to have an affiliation with people they relate to, or aspire to be like, and to feel part of a group.
- People want to feel that they are protecting the environment. You can connect with this motivator by helping people to sustain the belief that the environment is sacred and helping them to take action to improve their surroundings.
How and Why You Should Connect with Emotional Motivators
People who feel emotionally connected to your organization will spend more money, and engage more often.
A lot more, evidently - the researchers at Motista found that moving an existing costumer from “satisfied” to “emotionally connected” was more profitable than turning an existing “unsatisfied” customers into a “satisfied” one. Emotionally connected people are loyal, active, engaged, and price-insensitive.
To figure out what emotional motivators already bring people to your organization, look to your most committed and engaged audience members. Why do they do what they do? Do they feel like they're becoming the people that they are meant to be when they donate money to you? Do they feel connected to other people and a sense of belonging when they volunteer for you? Does helping your organization allow them to feel greater hope for the future?
The Motista researchers warn that people’s emotional motives may not be what they say - they can also be subconscious. They may also change depending on how and when they're interacting with your organization. o truly get to the key motivators, you need to dig deep.
Once you’ve identified what emotional motivators are connecting you with your best supporters, you can then figure out how to communicate to better connect with others. Not only should you communicate to appeal to those emotional motivators, interactions with your organization should also seek to gratify those desires.
For example, if volunteering for your organization is largely motivated by a desire to feel a sense of belonging, using images of your community of volunteers in your communications is a great idea. And the actual experience of volunteering should also allow people to feel a very real sense of belonging and camaraderie.
Thinking about people’s emotional needs and desires, and how those things motivate their behavior when it comes to your organization, will help to cut to the core of what you do. It’s no nonsense - it’s the opposite of a gimmick. And it works.