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Successful Products Do a Good Job of Satisfying People’s 10 Basic Desires (cont’d)

Last week, we wrote about how the most successful brands do not focus on what we need, they focus on what we want. We already covered the top 5… this article completes the list.

6. To grow and become more. Humans, unlike animals, do not come programmed with the skills we need. We begin as blank slates, yet within the first five years of our lives, we learn to perform many of the skills we will use throughout our lifetime. But then what happens? Is there ever another five-year period where we grow as much? Most would say no, and yet our brains are conditioned from childhood to grow and learn. Because of this, our mind is constantly striving to satisfy the function it has been conditioned to perform: to grow and become more. When you think of Monster, Kindle, Bally and Kaplan, don't they all brilliantly leverage this want to their advantage?

7. To serve others and give back. More than 60 million people performed more than 8 billion hours of service last year. Why? As children we are fully dependent on our parents. Those early memories of our mothers and fathers serving our every need, unselfishly giving to protect, care and nurture, are deeply ingrained in our minds and condition us to want to serve others and give back. Therefore, we tend to feel good when we are making others feel good, unselfishly focusing on others. This want competes against many of our other more self-focused wants, causing an unsettling feeling when we too frequently focus on ourselves. What comes to mind when you think about Prius, Livestrong, Timberland, Newman's Own, Make-a-Wish Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure?

8. To be surprised and excited. The amount of stimuli that our senses can process throughout the course of a day is remarkable. While our perceptual register filters the vast majority of these stimuli, what almost always gets through is what surprises and excites us. Stimuli that could potentially cause ecstasy or anxiety are the first things to grab our attention -- Red Bull, Las Vegas tourism, Disney, De Beers.

9. To believe there is a higher purpose. Most people identify with a particular religion, believe in a god in some form and believe that when we die, there is something more. We deeply want to believe there is a higher purpose. There is not a single more important belief that has such universal acceptance yet completely lacks any form of scientific evidence. But because we so deeply want to believe, anything that can possibly support this belief is powerfully motivating. When the Marines show us a wall of soldiers standing guard over our country and ask us if we have what it takes to be among the few and the proud, they are offering us a higher purpose.

10. To feel that they matter. This is humankind's greatest want -- that they matter. That they are worthy of attention, affection and love. It is an evolutionary trait. Released in large amounts during labor, oxytocin, a neurotransmitter, bonds the mother to a child, making it nearly impossible not to want to care for the newborn. Infants who do not receive this attention can succumb to failure-to-thrive syndrome, causing premature death. So the fact that we matter is essential to our survival. We have been conditioned from birth to believe that we matter. But as we get older, the oxytocin wears off and we feel less and less that we matter. We then spend the rest of our lives trying to get back this feeling that we once felt in such abundance, and brands such as American Express, Lexus, Rolex and Starbucks help us remember that we matter.

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