I can finally order my triathlon club’s casual kits. Before I could order them, I knew that I will definitely get at least one of them. This is because I knew that the kit will have my school’s logo, my club’s logo and my name.

The need for a sense of belonging to something is a strong driving factor.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the need for belonging is one of the 5 human needs. After we satisfy our physiological and safety needs, we seek for a sense of belonging and acceptance to our social groups – schoolmates, friends, teammates, colleagues, etc.

This is a very powerful motivation which should be used in marketing and businesses. After watching the football match between Manchester City and Chelsea yesterday, I feel more certain about it (more on this and the desire to show our identities in another post).

The ICM Research study shows that people like being members of clubs, loyalty schemes and institution because it gives them a sense of belonging, the opportunity to support their community and have their say. – Mindi Chahal, Marketing Week

Consumers prefer to feel that they belong to a brand or business than be to simply treated as customers. Hence, businesses should make use of human’s innate need for a sense of belonging when building their brands and carrying out marketing efforts to build long lasting relationships.

A good example is Apple and its brand. Apple built such a strong brand image that people feel that they belong to the Apple community by using Apple products. “I’m a mac user… I belong to the iPhone community.” Personally, I use the Macbook Pro. When I first got it, the thought I had immediately was “I’m joining the Macbook community in school now”. Furthermore, people don’t stop at having only 1 Apple product. Usually, you will see an iPhone user with an iPad or a Macbook or both. While compatibility between devices places a part, the sense of belonging and identity contributes too.

There are many examples of business making their customers feel belonged. Giffgaff let their members (customers) have a say in things. Sports clubs, especially football clubs, provide customers with a sense of identity unique to the club by selling jerseys and merchandise. Take a look at what successful businesses and brands have done and see if it can be applied to your business.

Is there a brand that you feel a strong sense of belonging to?