We’ve been obsessed with understanding human motivations lately… like, OBSESSED.

Before going any further, make sure to check out the first article in our Harnessing the Power of Human Motivations series to learn more about The Sound’s Motivation Framework. And while you’re at it, read more about Our Approach to Creative Analytics.

Human needs and motivations can be fulfilled by a variety of things, including brands. By engaging with people to truly understand what they do every day and harnessing the power of human motivations, we can shape how and when brands can authentically show up in their lives.

Here’s an example of what we mean…


Modern life is remote, let’s face it.

We communicate with our nearest and dearest through emojis and GIFs, catch up on what friends are doing through ten-second ‘stories’, and face inner turmoil when we have to talk to staff at store self-checkouts. Furthermore, Covid affected almost every aspect of our lives…a commute to a different room, building relationships through Zoom, meetings with floating heads, and buying clothes through websites. 

The convenience is perfect…right? No.

Modern life has been slowly driving a wedge between us, as we’re all eager to save time and cut corners to make our increasingly hectic lives a little easier. Consequently, life feels more distant than ever, despite supposedly living in a more ‘connected’ world.

So what?

Yes, feelings of isolation affect all of us at some point in our lives. The solutions that we each choose to combat them, however, vary. Some turn to their nearest friends as soon as possible to get face-to-face connection while others put a podcast on. People also turn to brands to help them feel connected—either to the brand itself or as a vehicle to feel connected to others. People choose different solutions depending on the context: what mood they’re in, where they are, who they’re with, and how they want to feel. Whatever our chosen solution, human nature dictates we want to engage and bond with people, community, or culture to feel part of something greater than ourselves. 

Who needs more connection?

Everyone needs connection, but their situational context isn’t always the same. For some it may be cooking for a loved one, an immediate solution. For others it may be time spent on a dating app seeking a long term relationship, a slower-burn and less immediate solution.

a man swiping a dating app

Essentially, there’s more than one way to crack an egg.

The motivation to ‘engage and bond’ with others can be fulfilled by a huge variety of categories—from alcohol and coffee, to audio and food—each category fulfilling a marginally different need. Audio, for instance, can help people ‘feel connected’ in a variety of ways: feeling a sense of community in their church choir or listening to their favorite podcast where they can, for example, feel part of a conversation around knitwear. Another category, meal prep boxes, can also help people ‘connect and comfort’ others through an exciting and communal eating experience. While both categories serve the core need to engage and bond with others, they manifest themselves in wildly different ways.

Group of friends sitting at dining table talking and playing games during a dinner party

What does this mean for brands?

Brands need to take a step back from thinking solely through their brand lens and think about what people actually do, in their everyday lives to satisfy their needs. That’s where The Sound can step in. Through talking to actual people, and following them on their journey from pain point to solution, we can uncover the situations in which people find themselves, the true motivations they have for using different products, as well as the situations in which they use them. Consequently, we can uncover the role your brand plays in people’s lives and what it could play in the future. This is what harnessing the power of human motivations is all about. 

So in the end, what do audio and meal prep boxes have in common? 

Both audio and meal prep boxes have the ability to satisfy a very unique human motivation—to engage and bond with others (a need that has become even more relevant than ever over the past few years). By using our Motivation Framework—which we’ve applied to many studies across 13 industries—and harnessing the power of human motivations, we can help brands identify the exact needs they fulfill. 


woman laying on couch with music

We’d love to help your brand break out of categorical norms and launch you further. If you haven’t already, check out our first article in this series on The Sound’s Motivational Framework, and read more about Our Approach to Creative Analytics.

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Written By:
George Wharmby

George Wharmby. Much like a duck, George is an avid fan of the water - you'll catch him out paddleboarding or surfing whenever the English weather permits. He thinks of the world like a duck, too - calm and serene on top but so much furious paddling going on underneath; that's why he loves behavioral economics so much!

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