LEVERAGING THE NEED TO CONNECT TO DRIVE PROFITS – 3 OBSERVATIONS
Psychologists have found a direct relationship between loneliness and life expectancy. Periods of prolonged loneliness can shorten life expectancy by up to 14 years according to recent research.
Neurologists have found that the need for human to connect, like all mammals is hard wired in the brain. Humans, like all mammals need to connect:
- Maintain mental health.
- Achieve happiness
- Realise their potential.
The relationship between connecting and happiness is well established with the link being made in a large number of studies. Humans who lack emotional or mental health and fail to achieve happiness are much less likely to achieve their potential.
Connecting is a basic human need. This need is illustrated in bars and night clubs, by social media and in dating sites.
Research has shown time and again that it is not the music or alcohol that attracts people to bars and night clubs, but rather the opportunity to connect and start relationships – despite other research that shows such venues to be less than effective at both.
Social media has grown as a result of people’s need to connect, recognising that while social media facilitates superficial connection it is very ineffective in establishing the kind of connection required to address loneliness.
Dating sites while lacking the science they claim to offer are also driven by peoples need to connect, as are singles clubs and speed dating events. Research suggests that 33% of married people first met their partner online.
Human beings need to connect on so many levels – as friends, as lovers, as colleagues and as business partners. Further while the strategies for connecting and the nature of the connections is changing (with social media) the importance of connecting is more important than ever.
Indeed, the quest for connection is more intense than ever for many and in particular the 30% of Australians who now live alone. While governments continue to talk about families – the reality is that nearly a third of Australian adults live alone – with no one else in their house – not even children or a flat mate.
Further, while the lifestyles of these people are changing, their need to connect is not. Like all human beings they need to connect and are looking for ways to connect. Hence the boom in coffee shops, especially in inner city areas with lots of office workers during the day and lots of singles in units at night.
The current boom in unit developments will only increase the need for facilitating connection, along with longer working hours and low income growth – restricting opportunities for social outings.
There are very real opportunities in terms of helping to connect>
So, ask yourself:
- How is your product or service helping people to connect?
- Can you develop a product or service to help people connect?
- Connecting is hard wired in humans – we all need it to one extent or another.
- Connecting is a driver of human behaviour and can be a competitive advantage.
- Facilitating connections may be the next frontier of marketing. It has already started.