A family making a toast over a holiday meal

Holidays and Belonging

For many of us, the holiday season is a time when we reflect on what we value.

Last week, New York Times op-ed writer Roger Cohen reflected on belonging in his commentary called “The Quest to Belong”. Cohen poignantly writes about the journeys of his ancestors across continents. He captures the excitement and the sense of loss that comes from venturing to a new land. Cohen’s message is to “give thanks in this holiday season for belonging, for community.”

Happy family toasting.

We all are motivated to some degree by a need to belong. Belonging is one of about twenty personal values that have been identified as key forces that motivate our actions. Belonging is more important than other personal values to some people and to some categories of people. We’ve learned from our work with soft drinks and in other consumer areas like sports clothing that teens have an excruciating need to belong.

Belonging also is more important as a motivator in some product categories than others. Our work on beer and pizza assignments continually leads to belonging as a primary motivator lubricated, literally in the case of beer, by certain kinds of products and activities. We see the power of belonging each time one of our family members says “Go Blue!” or “Go Green!”

One of the goals of our Motivations Assessment Program (MAP) is to map the DNA of personal values and the ways that they drive decisions. You can read more about decision mapping on the Motivation Research page of our website.

During this holiday season we hope that you’re able to savor a sense of belonging to your families and communities.