What are the key motivational needs of Australians in 2021?

Author: Ashley Smith, Director of Research & Strategy

Understanding what really drives our behaviour has become an increasing focal point of market research ‘holistic’ practice in recent times, underpinned by the notion that we can’t always explain this explicitly.

Our Annual Mood of Australia Research was set up way back in 2014 to answer this question – ‘what do Aussies want to feel more or less of in the coming year’ and through implicit techniques, each year we reveal the core motivational needs that then explain our behaviours. For example, why are we engaging with a certain brand offering or messaging?

So what’s new this year?

After such a turbulent and unprecedented year (at least in our lifetimes…), you may expect our Top motivational needs to have deviated significantly since Oct 2019.

They haven’t. 

The ‘top dog’ is still our drive for Empowerment, with Engagement and Belonging rounding out the Top 3. Same as last year.

What has changed is the way that we seek to fulfill that top Empowerment need (we measure this through word associations respondents connect with the overarching motivational need).

It is here that we start to see the effect of COVID-19 on how we want to strive for Empowerment. The pandemic crisis has seen us want to feel Stronger (+8%) and Less Restricted (+11%) more than in 2019. 

These ‘drivers’ of Empowerment make total sense and even though borders are re-opening and vaccines being touted as we speak there is still a lot of mileage that brand owners will be able to achieve in 2021 by tapping into these associations. 

How do you activate Empowerment for your Brand?

Think about how you can reinforce these pillars…

  1. “Gain control”

Help people gain more control over aspects they could not before.

  • “You can do it”

Enable people to feel capable and competent in the face of the unknown.

  • “Expand your horizons”

Help people develop new skills or improve a range of skills.

  • “Provide Strength”

Help their body and mind rise to the challenge.

And once again, any brand offering, communication or experience that builds a perception of enabling strength or the physical or ‘metaphorical’ lifting of 2020 barriers for Aussie consumers in 2021 will be valued. 

A Generational Lens reveals nuances

From a marketing perspective we should not treat all Aussies the same way, nor assume their dominant needs for 2021 are homogenous. We have seen certain nuances when applying a basic generational lens to our latest Mood of Australia findings. Whilst Empowerment does remain a constant top motivation, generational groups differ in their secondary needs and how empowerment can best be delivered to them.

Highlights here include:

  • the total level of ‘emotionality’ or heightened magnitude of feelings expressed by our youngest Generation – Z.We can account for this as these true ‘Digital Warriors’ have just experienced their first real world crisis. 
  • Gen Y or ‘Millennials’ have always distinguished themselves as more group and socially orientated, also chasing external life experiences. It is therefore not surprising on the back of 2020 workplace and external exclusions that ‘Belonging’ is their second more desired Motivational need.  
  • for Gen Xers, ‘less restricted’ is relatively more associated to fulfilling their Empowerment need. Many within this group have been emotionally saddled with the ‘sandwich’ pressure of children and unprecedented home schooling, whilst also needing to take care of ageing parents within a lockdown pandemic scenario.
  • Finally Boomers, who post-lockdown are seeking to reconnect with love ones and resume their prior routines in a safe way are citing ‘strength’ relatively more as their key path to Empowerment.

Find out more

If you want to know more on HOW to tap into these emotional needs, get in touch! 

Sprout’s Mood of Australia Research is Australia’s biggest annual implicit study into the hearts and minds of Australians (now 7 years of data). We get to the bottom of what Australians really want – what their hearts and minds desire. We ask what do Australians want to feel more of and less of in the coming year.