What “Drives” Us

By Olivia Narvaez

I recently read a book by the author Daniel H. Pink titled “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.” Surprisingly, this #1 New York Times Bestseller contradicted many of the presumptions and hypothesis that I have come to about what drives us as humans and more specifically, consumers, which are what all branding, advertising, and marketing people care about.

This book relates many theories as to what motivates us and what “drives” us as human beings. When it comes to motivation, there is a gap between what science thinkers know and what business people know. According to the book, which indicates various case studies, most businesses located in not only the United States, but also the world, are built around external motivators, such as, more pay for more work incentives. These systems often do more harm than good in the workplace. Going back to the article written about motivation in the workplace, this theory could be very probable in many industries. Money or other external incentives are most likely the least effective. The many scientific studies exemplified in the book demonstrate the need to upgrade to using different internal incentives, especially when dealing with more creative activity (i.e., advertising and marketing). There are three essential elements needed to correct this approach: “autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives; mastery – the urge to make progress and get better at something that matters; and purpose – the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves,” (Pink, 2009).

When relating this book to developing a communication planning strategy, the first thing that came to mind is the target audience of any campaign. We are the target audience for account planners to advertise to. We, as human beings, are whom advertisers need to purchase their client’s product or service. The first thing that any account planner does is research the target market. In their research they need to find out what will motivate this particular group to buy something, in particular, the product tor service in question. Motivation is what drives us to do anything in life. Using this information in a communication planning strategy would increase effectiveness of the plan immensely. By knowing the above information, you can help your client achieve the bottom line.

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