To motivate your audience, you have to appeal to their values. This may seem obvious, but it often falls by the wayside as we design digital signage content on a daily basis. It’s understandable because we’re all busy and not every person creating your messages can be a trained communications expert or psychologist – nor must they be.
This is really just a detailed explanation for a simple communications rule – it’s not about you. To be good communicators, we have to focus on the receiver and not ourselves when crafting digital signage messages. Too often, we appeal to our own set of values instead of trying to connect with our audience by appealing to theirs.
People are motivated by what’s important to them, and having insight into a person’s core values can tell us what they care about. By appealing to their values, we can engage and motivate them.
Steven Reiss has identified sixteen needs based on studies of over 6000 people:
- Acceptance – the need to be appreciated
- Curiosity – the need to gain knowledge
- Eating – the need for food
- Family – the need to take care of one’s offspring
- Honor – the need to be faithful to the customary values of an individual’s ethnic group, family or clan
- Idealism – the need for social justice
- Independence – the need to be distinct and self-reliant
- Order – the need for prepared, established, and conventional environments
- Physical activity – the need for work out of the body
- Power – the need for control of will
- Romance – the need for mating or sex
- Saving – the need to accumulate something
- Social contact – the need for relationship with others
- Social status – the need for social significance
- Tranquility – the need to be secure and protected
- Vengeance – the need to strike back against another person
So maybe you don’t want to focus on vengeance in your messages, but this list can help us get a broader understanding of people’s general point of view and core interests. You should have a good knowledge of your audience already, so you can prioritize the values that might interest them the most.
Reiss gives three essential points to keep in mind when applying the theory of 16 basic desires:
- Each basic desire can be a performance driver.
- Basic desires which are either particularly strong or weak in an individual are equally strong performance drivers.
- A basic desire never exists in isolation; the combination of basic desires is important.
Keeping these points in mind when you design digital signage content should lead you to focus your efforts on the items that your audience finds most important. Those are the ones they should better engage with and feel strong enough about to take action.