Throughout recent years we have seen the internet develop at a rapid pace. Online technology evolved, allowing brands the capacity to do more than ever before. Social network platforms have grown into today’s digital superheroes, as we’ve prioritized community and the quest for connecting the brand with as many users as possible. We have done this largely by allocating budgets to ‘social’ initiatives and leveraging Facebook, Twitter, Instagr.am and other social platforms for our brand.
Personally, I enjoy studying in an attempt to understand the course of evolution. To project brands into the future, one must think of innovative concepts that truly move the brand and industry forward. Technology changes and platforms arise to meet the needs and desires of the active online community. Therefore, if we know a little more about these needs and how the industry develops digitally over time to cater to these demands, we rapidly increase our chances of producing ideas that will move our propel our industry and put our brand in the spotlight. We have a chance at winning today’s game for online following and loyalty.
As marketers, we have all been smacked in the face with Maslov’s theory and the pyramid he cleverly constructed. But do we ever revisit that theory? Do we think it’s outdated? Do we perceive it as classical? Or rather, not fit for our modern world?
Well, now is the time to consider it.
Abraham Maslov introduced a pyramid: the hierarchy of needs. The theory was first published in 1943 and covered the various levels of human necessities. The pyramid is still relevant in spite of its shortcomings, and delivers an interesting angle for studying the evolution of the internet.
The internet started out as a bare bones digital world with websites that would now give us the creeps. The technology behind it was barely developed and opportunities to create websites were extremely limited. We have experimented with all that is possible and found ways to utilize the internet as an easy-to-access world of information; hence, the moniker ‘the information age.’
Recent years have also marked the evolution of social functionality. We have moved beyond the scope of an information age and created the possibilities of interacting with information, companies, brands, and one another digitally. Mere information has lost its dominating role and (social) interaction has clearly taken the lead. This makes total sense when one refers to the hierarchy of needs.
Social needs rank third on the Maslov pyramid. Even Clayton P. Alderfer, who revisited the Maslov theory due to its shortcomings, integrated ‘relatedness’ needs (social and external esteem) as a core component into his model of human necessities. People seek to belong to and participate within communities. Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, among others, have proven that answering the human need for relatedness is a driver for success.
Recent (extremely successful) digital initiatives integrating social functionalities beyond Facebook and Twitter have proven that social isn’t a mere add-on anymore. Instead, it’s becoming a conceptual requisite for online success and blazing the trail for the future.
JWORLD by JBRAND
UNIQLOOKS by UNIQLO
ART OF THE TRENCH by BURBERRY
So now that social interaction with users, content, and brands is attainable, shouldn’t it thus be integrated in all initiatives we create? Does simple ‘sharing’ functionality do the trick? Or should we rather think of ways of how to allow users to interact with and be part of a community that surrounds whatever platform we are preparing to launch?
The answer to that last question is a resounding YES.
Photo Credits: Scott Heiner