The Hierarchy of Needs applied on Ambassador Marketing


In bizarre times like this you go back to the essentials. Or how Abraham Maslow would describe it: the physiological needs. Maybe that’s why there was a run on toilet paper? Having said this, Maslow’s theory can be applied on ambassador marketing too and here lies a big opportunity for Human Resources.

The hierarchy of needs is a world-known motivational theory of Abraham Maslow that can be applied on ambassador marketing to. In this article we explain exactly how to do this and why you should do it in the first place.

Why bring the hierarchy of needs up?

By now you’ve reflected on the current state of Human Resources and you know that you are responsible for the changes that you want to make.

You have also learned that HR departments are responsible for roughly two tasks: attracting plus retaining talent and that social media gives you an opportunity to add value here.

But in order to truly succeed, and to embrace the power of ambassador marketing, we need to give you more in-depth insights and background information. Enter: the hierarchy of needs of Abraham Maslow.

The Hierarchy of Needs - Wifi

We have chosen to use the hierarchy of needs pyramid from Abraham Maslow as most HR professionals are familiar with this. Or they have at least seen the above picture.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

The hierarchy of needs is a world-known motivational theory from Abraham Maslow. It comprises a five-tier model of human needs, often shown as hierarchical levels within a pyramid.

The main principle of Maslow’s theory is that the needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to needs higher up.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

This implies that anyone starts from the bottom of the hierarchy with physiological needs and works his way up to self-actualisation via safety, love and belonging, esteem.

The hierarchy of needs applied on ambassador marketing

When you look at the different stages than you can, with some imagination, adapt this motivational theory on Human Resources, employer branding and ambassadorship.

Physiological needs

Psychological needs aren’t air, food or shelter but they translate to having a job. This doesn’t necessarily mean a job someone loves doing or is best qualified for.

No, this literally means that a person has a job and can provide for himself. These are the people who come to work for their salary and never talk / think about work after working hours.

Nothing more and nothing less. Needless to say that people who are stuck in this stage aren’t proud of who they are or work and therefore are no ambassadors.

Safety needs

Next you have the employees whose safety needs to be met too.

In return for this employee to do his job properly, he needs a clean working environment and access to all the appropriate and necessary resources.

The hierarchy of needs applied on ambassador marketing

Another important matter for this employee is being paid in time.

This might seem straight-forward but only then employees feel a sense of personal security and are more likely to become ambassadors.

Having said this, they do a nine to fiver, have talks with their colleagues, and they kinda like their job, but it's not that they'll go the extra mile. To go short, they do what you ask but nothing more.

Love and belonging

The opposite is also true.

Employees can move up to the next level, love and belonging, when above-basic HR tasks and responsibilities are met. In this stage it’s all about respect, recognition and strength.

This means you should focus on improving internal communication, the company's culture and let employees use their talents. By doing so, they are creating a community of like-minded people who are proud to work at your company. And being part of a community gives a sense of belonging.

The hierarchy of needs applied on ambassador marketing love and belonging

This should be the fun part for HR-professionals as here they can make the difference. You can recognize these employees by the way they communicate to each other, how they spend time together and how they take on extra projects in order to help themselves (careers) and/or the company.


Next stage is esteem. The focus of the prior stage was internally. Here it’s externally.

Esteem translates best to feeling proud. If an employee feels proud then you are more likely to share content about your employer with their network and that’s the basis of a good employer brand.

In order to make your employees proud you need to act as a “great place to work” or “top employer”. These employees are sharing content, not because you ask them, but because they love to.

They interact with each other on a whole other level and everything they do is in terms of: how can I help the company. In other words, here are ambassadors created.


Last but not least is self-actualisation. Desire to become the most that one can be. This is the part where Human Resources only dreams of and possibly has the biggest impact.

You should aim to have an impact on the strategy of the company. You should be involved in translating the strategy into concrete actions and help employees to excel and vice versa.

You should listen to every employee and use their feedback to improve the company. This two-way communication is what ambassadorship is all about.

If you can ensure an employee makes it till here, you better go one extra mile to keep the employee happy as they are gold for the company. You all know who this person is within your organization.

Are you ready?

Hopefully these insights help you to start using social media in a professional way to build an online community of ambassadors to embrace the company culture and start promoting your employer brand so that you can more easily attract and retain talent.

Do you want to know more about this?

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