Pyramid selling

Pyramid selling - image for article by Greg Alder

We’re motivated by basic needs, such as companionship, shelter and self-esteem.

We’re plagued by fears – of death, poverty, loneliness and public speaking.

We’re more open to messages from those we like than those we don’t.

We respond positively to those who show an interest in us.

We feel a connection with those whose values match our own.

What we feel and what we say aren’t always the same.

These are all deep human truths.

In a world in which it’s increasingly difficult to differentiate our business by product uniqueness, price or service, emotional connectivity has become critical to securing a competitive advantage.

When all other things are equal, people will choose us because they like our brand, like what it stands for and, most important of all, feel that we understand them better than others do.

To achieve this understanding, we need insight into that which motivates the beliefs, habits and actions of our audience. We need to find the relevant deep human truths.

Our words often mask an underlying, unexpressed motive. We say we don’t like something, when the truth is that we don’t understand it – but can’t admit it.

This is why many breakthrough products fail in research but succeed in the marketplace. Research groups can only evaluate based on experience. They don’t know how to assess the new product, so they tend to reject it.

Even our actions might seem clear-cut, but are often covers for other feelings.

The risk is that we can find ourselves responding to the words or actions presented – and subsequently miss making an effective connection with our audience.

We need to remove the barriers that prevent us seeing. We need to dig deeper to identify the feelings behind the mask.

As Maslow demonstrated with his pyramidal Hierarchy of Needs, the core needs that motivate us are the need for shelter, for food, for belonging and for a sense of self worth.

Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

Beyond these are other powerful motivators – the desire to protect those we love, for respect & prestige, the fear of the future & getting old, the fears of loneliness and injury, the desire for financial freedom and for love, the need for laughter, diversion and ‘me’ time … the list goes on.

As we satisfy our basic needs, we turn our attention to those further up the pyramid. The further up the pyramid, the more discretion comes into play. We have choices. We don’t always know why we make the choices we do.

Psychologists have shown that it’s our subconscious, not our conscious, mind that controls 90% of our actions.

We do things and think things without knowing it. We make choices that we believe we’re making based on a colour preference, say, when the real reason is something altogether different.

In my Deep Human Truth workshop, I introduce a really simple technique for unearthing the potent insights that hide behind bald facts. It turns ‘the world’s biggest selling magazine’ into something far more inspiring, fascinating, unique and enduring. Uncovering a potent insight leads to engaging stories. People share stories. Not facts.

If we can better understand the subconscious mind, and unearth the deep human truths that control our lives (and our audience’s lives), we stand a much greater chance of connecting on an emotional level.

People are more open to our messages. We in turn become better communicators. We stop wasting money on irrelevant messages to disengaged audiences. We form a bond based on the fact that we seem to understand what our audience really feels, needs or wants.

Isn’t that what brand communication is all about?

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