Harnessing the 5 emotional drivers of modern consumers

In our fast-changing, omni-channel world it’s more important than ever for retail brands to tap into consumers’ passions and build emotional connections.With over twenty years’ experience in understanding customer needs, we’ve discovered that, despite their individual diversity, people’s emotional motivations can be categorised into 5 macro drivers: Control, Desire, Belonging, Immersion and Freedom. In any given situation, consumers prioritise the fulfilment of one of these. Most brands have a dominant driver - the emotional need they meet most consistently. Flourishing depends on delivering to this in combination with another - pushing the conversation forward and forging deeper connections.

Control – ‘Help my life run smoothly’

Rational needs routinely dominate shoppers’ minds – the buzz of control arising when their plans are realised. Here the brand must seek to consistently meet functional needs such as saving time and money.

Desire – ‘Excite me; give me an excuse to buy’

Led by passion, shopping here is about gratifying urges beyond basic needs. To succeed on this the brand must always try to raise the bar and intensify pleasures.

Belonging – ‘Recognise who I am’

Retail choices become a means of self-orientation, reflecting the individual, clan or class. Here the brand should attempt to synchronise with customers and foster shared identity.

Immersion – ‘Absorb me in your world’

Shoppers become consumed by the brand’s world and allow it to guide them. Here the retailer should seek to be the customer’s guiding light.

Freedom – ‘Release me into a more exciting world’

Consumers feel empowered by the experience - using it as a springboard to better living. For this driver the brand must offer new ways to live life more fully.

Read more about ABA’s 5 Drivers model.


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