The Need to Belong

October 2018

We are living in a time where many U.S. citizens are placing party loyalty over policy, and sometimes even truth. In fact, several studies have shown that attitudes toward a policy are largely determined by the position of one’s political party even if subconscious. What is the root of this blind loyalty? In a word: belonging.

Political party is a form of social identity; a sense of who you are based on your group membership. As humans, we crave that membership, we need to feel a sense of belonging. Belonging — or not belonging — has the power to not just shape our beliefs and values, but it can fundamentally affect our health and happiness. We need belonging to survive, which has led many in the medical field to emphasize immediate skin-to-skin contact with a newborn baby. Some psychology experts even believe ‘Belonging’ should be at the very bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid, giving it more importance than even food and shelter.

Since belonging is an inherent part of the human experience, we crave a similar experience as consumers. We choose brands that promote our sense of identity, who share our values and beliefs. And we feel part of a community of likeminded people who share in that brand experience. Brands who create and foster that all-important sense of belonging can create deeper connections and long-term loyalty with their consumers. Here are four ways to start: