Applying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Brand Marketing

By: Amanda Young

What is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a 5-tier model of human needs.  They pyramid was founded by psychologist, Abraham Maslow in 1943.  The five tiers consist of physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs, and self actualization. Each tier represents a different level of need for humans.  


When first creating the hierarchy of needs, Maslow originally shared that individuals have to satisfy their lower level needs before they can work on needs that are at the top of the pyramid. Maslow then eventually corrected himself, specifying that not all needs in each level need to be met before being able to work on the next.  Instead, humans just need to feel a sense of the need being met before moving on to upper level needs.

Physiological Needs:

  • Air
  • Food
  • Drink
  • Clothing

Safety Needs:

  • Shelter
  • Job security
  • Health
  • Safe environment

Belongingness and Love Needs:

  • Friendship
  • Trust
  • Intimacy
  • Acceptance
  • Receiving and giving affection

Esteem Needs:

  • Esteem for oneself
  • Desire for reputation

Self Actualization:

  • Self fulfillment
  • Seeking personal growth
  • Experiences 

Why is it important to marketers?

When Maslow’s hierarchy theory is applied to marketing, it is important for marketers to understand their ability to effectively appeal to at least one of the motivational drivers. Each area of business falls under at least one of the tiers on the hierarchy of needs.  For example, places like nail salons or hair salons fall under esteem or self actualization needs because it helps customers boost their self esteem while also helping them see their full potential.  Another example includes, marketing campaigns that are selling products like food or other basic human needs fall under the first level of the pyramid.  

It is essential to consider what level of need your customer is trying to meet and to have a better understanding of the background of what the need is.  Then, when marketing a product make sure that it is marketed it in a way that it convinces your customer that the product will fulfill their need(s). 

Where does your business fall on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Use this information to glean more of your target demographic and where they live in the socio/economic sphere, thus learning more about how to market to them.