The 7 Drivers of Motivation and How It is Reflected in Advertising (Part 1)

Have you ever come across a great commercial and immediately wanted to buy the product? Want to know more about how marketers tap into the science behind the motivation which makes you want to buy the product? BRICK is here to discuss those motivations and how it can affect consumer behaviors.

Susan Weinschenk, in her book How To Get People to Do Stuff, explains that there are seven basic drivers of human motivation. Today, we will summarize the first three drivers and give you an example of how they are applied to advertising.

The Need to Belong

The Need to Belong goes way back to our ancestors because humans are meant to live in a social setting. Our desire to connect with others is a strong, innate drive. Advertisers often deliver the message to consumers that make them feel like they are a part of something bigger. They prefer to say “be a donor” versus “donate now” because they know it would make the potential donor feel good to be a part of a community of donors.


Have you ever noticed that sometimes, you do things without even thinking about it? The habit consists of three major parts: the trigger, the action, and the consequence (reward). Something triggers us to act and sequentially, we receive the consequence. For the habit to last, the consequence should be rewarding to the individual. That is how a habit is formed. Knowing this, brands often effectively give consumers an obvious cue (the trigger) and a forecast of the rewarding outcome in the ad. It also helps to know that the easiest way to create a new habit is to anchor it to an existing habit. Next time you see a mouthwash commercial, see if it starts with an individual that has just finished brushing his or her teeth. If so, you’re on to their attempt to tie their brand to your existing habit of brushing your teeth…at least we hope it’s an existing habit! 

The Power of Stories

This is obvious when you can see how many ads appear in the form of telling a story. The reason for it is because the advertisers attempt to connect with the audience in a way that matches the audience’s’ self-stories. We all have self-personas. We tell ourselves and others stories about who we are and why we do what we do. One of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials in 2015 was the “New Toyota Camry – My Bold Dad”. The ad tells the story of a dad always try to protect his daughter. Other dads who can relate feel connected to the story and therefore trust the brand as well.

The three drivers above are the science behind how to get people to do stuff. Tune in next week as BRICK breaks down the last four motivational drivers and how advertisers leverage them. If you need help with your brand, we are more than happy to connect. Contact us today.