“We prefer to behave in approval with our social groups”
Belongingness is our innate need to form and maintain strong, stable interpersonal relationships. More than we are often consciously aware, we want to be part of a peer group, community, and society.
Once we feel we belong to a group, we will conform to, and internalize the group’s values and norms. In general, we conform to both injunctive norms of our groups (implied approved behavior by the group), and to descriptive norms (common behavior among group members). We may even behave adversely to groups that we do not want to be associated with.
Your brand, products, or services are social objects that inherently form and play a role within social groups… Therefore, belongingness and conformity have multiple strong persuasive effects. Does your prospect want to belong and conform to your group?
Scientific research example
Imagine that a friendly lady comes up to your door and asks for a donation for charity. She hands over the list to write down your name and donation… A recent study by influence guru Cialdini (2011) revealed that you are more probable to donate when the previous donators are people you know, such as friends and neighbors.
Ryan, Stiller, and Lynch (1994) found that children will increasingly internalize school’s extrinsic regulations and conform to them when they have a higher feeling of belonging to the school (the more secure and cared for by parents and teachers).
Paul Rose and JongHan Kim (2011) found that the higher someone’s need to belong, the more he seeks the opinions of others before acting (and the more someone is self-monitoring, the more likely he will be an opinion leader).