Buzzworthiness Via Human Motivation
Creating something buzzworthy can be a challenge, but a challenge worth achieving. If you can create something buzzworthy enough to get everyone buzzing about it and spreading the message virally, then you’ve succeeded in doing something that most marketers only dream of. Let’s take a look at buzzworthiness from the perspective of the psychology of human motivation. If we can grasp the concept of what motivates us as humans, then we’ll have a better understanding of how to utilize the motivation factors to encourage the viral spread of our message through starting a buzz. The famous psychologist Abraham Maslow presented what he called the “Hierarchy of Needs”. According to this hierarchy, if a human doesn’t have their basic needs met, then they will be motivated mostly by meeting those basic needs first, giving less importance to the other needs.
Let’s take a look at this hierarchy below: 1. Physiological needs: Food, water, shelter, and sex. Safety: Freedom from the threat of physical and emotional harm. Social Needs: Friendship, belonging, and love. Esteem Needs: Achievement, recognition, and reputation. Self-Actualization: Truth, meaning, and wisdom. After fulfilling one group of needs starting with physiological needs, then we will become more motivated to fulfill the next set of needs, which graduates us to the next set of needs, until we fulfill self-actualization at the top of the hierarchy. This can essentially be seen as a scale of motivation. The things that motivate us are the things that fulfill one or more of our needs. So here’s an example of how to easily create a buzz: Give out free food to famine stricken people. Those peoples primary motivation would be to attain food, and if you provide it free, they will be buzzing to get it, because it fulfills their basic needs.
Does this example have much relevance to modern marketing? What do you think would happen if you gave out free hamburgers to people at a festival? You’d create a buzz and people would remember you. People walking away with their free burgers would meet other people and say “They’re giving out free burgers over there”, thus propagating your message virally via word of mouth and creating a buzz. Okay I admit, there’s another concept here that makes it buzzworthy. The concept is to have something unique about your message/product/service. People will buzz about free burgers because A) it fulfills one of their basic needs, and B) the offer is unique because it’s free. If burgers were always free, then there would be nothing to buzz about. For people that have their physiological and safety needs met, it is easier to create a buzz through the motivation to meet their social and esteem needs. A few of the greatest examples of viral marketing such as Hotmail, MyJournal, MySpace, and Friendster are all examples of this. These companies created a buzz because they offered something unique that fulfill the social and esteem needs through social communications, and social networking. In these cases, the word of mouth buzz gets spread even faster because by spreading the word they fulfill their social and esteem needs at the same time as fulfilling it from the service they’re spreading the word about.
It works the same even with the example of free burgers. When someone walks away with a free burger, they are inclined to go tell their friends about it, because it will boost their reputation, recognition, and strengthen their friendship. Their friends will be excited and happy to get a free burger thanks to you being the one to tell them about it. This is a key point in buzzworthiness and if understood and implemented with the right ideas and the right messages, can increase your buzz exponentially. If you have a message, product, or service that is unique and fulfills one or more of our human needs, then you are on your way to creating a buzz. If it is something that is so good that people’s reputation and recognition becomes boosted amongst those they tell about it, then it’s definitely buzzworthy! The only thing left is to tell people to spread the word about it, and make it as easy as possible for them to spread it (ie. Viral tools such as tell-a-friend scripts, hand outs, pamphlets, e-mail forwarding, articles they can freely publish, etc…). Good luck creating a buzz!.
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