Human beings have a few basic needs. Food, warmth and shelter are amongst the most important. If we get those three, we can survive and for any species survival is what makes the difference between success and failure. Much has been said about the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, yet his theory is heavily criticised and has several failings. Largely, we respond to many more of the basic needs than we might like to think. At our core, we are a biological machine that is only around to reproduce another biological machine to ensure the survival of the species.
This means that the basics of our very being are so fundamental that we respond to them without even realising we are doing it.
New research confirms this by demonstrating that children respond more to adverts that contain food than advertising that is about other items, including toys. The study looked at what was happening in their brains and showed that there was more brain activity in key regions when there was food in the advert, than when the advertising was about something else. In other words, the basic instinct of the child was kicking in – food is really interesting because it helps us survive.
So, what elements of our basic instincts could you use in your web pages? Could you legitimately use food in your pictures? What if your pages elude warmth, or shelter somehow? True, it might be difficult if you are selling software or spanners, but if there is some way you can appeal to basic human instincts you may well get the edge over your competitors.
Basic instincts are dealt with by the brain at the subconscious level and given that most people have decided whether or not they like a web page within half a second, the subconscious plays a significant role online. That means if you can appeal to the subconscious using basic instincts, so much the better.