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Turning wants into needs

I’ve always found the discussion about wants and needs quite confusing.

Wants talk about desire and emotional connection to things, experiences or people we absolutely feel we need. We want a new car, a new phone, a new computer. Probably we have very good reasons to justify wanting all of these, and these reasons make us conclude that we need them.

Marketing mostly tries to trick our minds, making us feel that we need what we want, but we know that this is not the case.

We don’t need more things, we just want them because we think they will help us achieve something else that’s important to us: better health, love, a better job, etc.

Some marketers turn our wants into needs, and they do this using stories.

But not all marketers play this game. You can find honest people out there who will tell you “Well, I don’t think you need this right now. Maybe you want it, but you don’t need it.”

And why are these sales and marketing people putting the brakes on getting another client? Very likely because they have a purpose, even if they don’t recognise it themselves.

These people relate differently to the question of wanting. They just don’t want to sell more or increase their turnover: they want to address a global issue, protect the environment, or help creative people thrive in their work.

That’s why purpose matters. Every business person wants more, but purpose helps us to define that “more as something that will benefit all of us, not just a few of us.

Ethical storytelling can be measured by how you define “more” and what you want to achieve with your stories. If you’re saying no to opportunities and you define thriving in relation to the quality of the projects, impact and customers you work with, you’re driven by purpose.

Purpose-driven businesses address wants to achieve global needs rather than aiming to turn every single want into a need.



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