[003] How to Create a Powerful Message (even during Covid-19)

by Gwendi Klisa

Let’s be unavailable for fear, paralysis, panic and neurosis.
Let’s say yes to the abundant and to create an atmosphere of sharing and love, even in “these uncertain times”.

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Riding on a Doppeldecker bus. London, March 2020

“Paracetamol for sale”

read the poster with a big marker pen drawn arrow pointing to the entrance of the newsagents. Home made signs always catch my eye and this one – spotted from atop a London bus – made me listen up.

Paracetamol? That rings a bell, isn’t it something we’re meant to stock up on in times like this?

A peruse of google later on confirmed it. Paracetamol is sold out. Wait, no I did find “the last box of paracetamol” on ebay. With 15 bids and a couple hours left. 

Going price £2,500! And let me clarify, this was for 16 capsules, not for a truckload of the chemical that costs pennies to produce and is just a pain/fever killer, not a cure for much* ( *always seek your own medical advice please, as I’m OBVIOUSLY not a doctor).

It’s a stark example of the fact that humans pay any price for something if they really want it! 

And how about we apply this knowledge to our products and services? I know that there’s a ton of entrepreneurs out there with beautiful intentions and amazing products but they fail to get traction because they’re not getting this across and aren’t motivating people to buy.

We Are The Economy

Let’s make our products essential more compelling. This really is our duty as entrepreneurs, because we are the economy. Every single one of us has a role to play in this and has to keep this economy afloat. This means showing up every day, dialing up our message and selling while everything around us appears to collapse. 

The world needs you more than ever now.

Human needs and motivation determine buying behaviour

To understand why some products and services fetch sky high prices you need to really get the motivation behind the purchase.

What is going on in someone’s mind to pay almost any price for a product?

Let’s go back to a psychology classic, Abraham Maslow, who was born in Brooklyn, NYC 1908 and who, in  1943, wrote a groundbreaking paper for the Psychological Review. It was called “A Theory of Human Motivation.”

Maslow’s pyramid of human needs

Maslow argues that humans have basic needs we strive to fulfill. In that sense these needs drive human behaviour. He categorises these needs into five groups as follows:

I Physiological needs

  1. Air
  2. Sleep
  3. Water
  4. Food
  5. Shelter
  6. Clothes
  7. Freedom from pain

To ensure our physical functioning, these needs have to be taken care of and in that way they can be pressing, compelling and urgent. They must be met continuously, else the person will feel a growing sense of stress. 

Now, if your business serves any of the above categories, you have an offering that serves a direct human need and it’ll be far easier to create a compelling message.

II Safety needs

The second category of needs create a sense of pressure if they’re not met, they are

  1. Physical survival 
  2. Physical security
  3. Employment security 
  4. Feeling safe and taken care of
    • “there are more than enough resources to go around”
    • “my  physical well-being is protected”

Examples of niches serving the need for safety are 

  1. real estate agent
  2. investing and financial management
  3. job placement
  4. business
  5. health and wellness industry

III Love and belonging needs

This category speaks to us humans as social beings, we’re looking for contact and connection in order to thrive.

  1. Friendship
  2. Love 
  3. Relationships 
  4. Community

Example of niches serving the love and belonging need are:

  1. Dating
  2. Relationships 
  3. Parenting
  4. Community 
  5. Team-building

Sometimes you need to dig a bit deeper to see which need you serve: for example Laura (Last Name) who is an animal communicator and who is in the Love Family (look this up)

IV Esteem needs

Esteem needs arise from our desire to be comfortable in our own skin. As humans, we want to recognise that we’re competent and worthy of respect:

  1. from others (i.e. prestige, attention, status, fame)
  2. from self (i.e. freedom, independence, strength)

Niches serving the ESTEEM need are

  1. Style and Beauty businesses 
  2. Branding and design
  3. Self-confidence
  4. Financial success
  5. High end real estate
  6. Luxury goods
  7. Leadership

V Self-Actualization needs

Maslow sums up this level as, “what a man can be, he must be”, or “what a woman can be, she must be”. As humans, we strive to reach our full potential. These goals and accomplishments can include things like pursuing goals and seeking happiness and personal fulfillment

Niches serving the self actualisation need

  1. Life purpose coaching
  2. Spirituality teachers
  3. Personal development
  4. Art, design, creative expression
  5. Philosophy
  6. Knowledge

How to apply these categories to a business

Let’s see how this works IRL. Take the example of stylist. 

A stylist could specialise in providing fashion that is suitable for people suffering from allergies or beachwear for breast cancer survivors (Physiological need). 

The stylist could help professionals wear safe work gear (Safety need)

They could help us look attractive to attract partners (love and belonging need)

The stylist could advise on the right work wardrobe or how to look good for public speakers (Esteem needs)

And, the stylist could help you express you personality through fashion  (self actualisation need)

  1. Make your offerings NECESSARY and ESSENTIAL 
    • Tie in your message to answer more than one need
    • Especially if you’re serving the self actualisation
    • Self actualisation should be an added extra to a need humans perceive as more pressing and tend to prioritise
    • Most people will seek food first and then start a mediation practice
    • For example in my business 
      • Self actualisation: Challenge: Express and develop your personality in business
      • Esteem: Gain status & self respect
      • Love & belonging: Sharing & helping: Do good and find community through your business
      • Safety: Cash: Make money

Let’s put our own spin on this, shall we?

Arranging the needs in a pyramid shape enforces the idea that the needs are arranged in an unspoken hierarchy. It implies that the needs build upon each other and must be fulfilled in order.

It seems that only when the base needs are met can someone attempt to move “up” and this is an idea that is reinforced by the pyramid imagery, which was not included in the original paper.

Maslow himself emphasized that the order is not rigid and that there’s some fluidity between the levels and that people may move between levels based on circumstances

I haven’t spoken much about the hierarchy of these human needs, because therein lies the catch! My question for you is: is it that some of these needs are more important than others?

People paying obscene amounts of money on a box of fever- and painkillers suggests that 

the instinct to secure physical survival is powerful and irrational. 

Even though Paracetamol is a medicine that may or may not help*, people are frantically outbidding each other. The lower rungs of the pyramid seem quite dominant.

Let love rule

How about we create a world based on connection and sharing, and not on scrambling for resources?

How about we recognise that the universe provides more than enough to go around?

Let’s prioritise love and community and demand to rise above the pure primal survival instinct. Stand up for the greater community, share your light. We can all contribute to make the world better.

Now go out there and be Queen of your Niche


00:00 About this Episode
02:41 “No-one’s buying right”
03:53 Paracetamol panic buying
05:50 We Are The Economy
06:55 Be heard above the noise
07:39 Speak to significant current events in your followers’ world
10:01 Covid-19 message examples
11:38 Identify the key events and create messages for your people
12:29 Message on several levels
13:35 The 5 basic human needs
14:20 Physiological needs
15:28 Safety needs
16:31 Love and belonging needs
16:59 Laura Marjorie Miller the Animal Communicator (on IG & twitter as @obestbelovedac and on LinkedIn)
17:35 Esteem needs
18:55 Self Actualisation needs
19:38 What keeps you up at night?
20:11 Apply this to your business
21:11 Two examples of messaging on several levels
23:24 How to message on several levels
23:42 Make your message bigger than the fear
24:29 Let me take you through this
25:02 A chance for sharing and community

[001] The No 1 Mistake to Avoid when You Find Your Niche
To find out how I can help you with your niche and to claim 1 of 10 places click here.


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