Maslow’s Pyramid What is it? levels and examples

The human being responds to his instincts and to the stimuli he receives from the outside. Our behavior is governed by certain needs that are innately acquired, and although our behavior may be variable, we have a certain way of acting.

To talk about the maslow pyramid or pyramid of needs, we must contextualize its meaning and know everything about human behavior, only in this way we will understand how it works and how it is applied in all its fields, including in the world of psychology and the business world .


What is Maslow’s pyramid?

Maslow’s pyramid or also called the hierarchy of human needs is a theory created by the American psychologist Abraham Maslow , which he published in 1943 in his book: a theory of human motivation . It quickly gained great notoriety both in the world of psychology and in the field of marketing, human resources and the business world in general.


Maslow’s pyramid theory states that human actions are born from an innate motivation to meet our needs, which are ordered hierarchically depending on the importance they have for our well-being.


The needs of the human being are categorized and hierarchized according to the importance they have in our lives. Maslow (humanistic psychologist) proposed a pyramid of needs that explains what drives human behavior. This pyramid is divided into 5 levels, ranging from more basic aspects such as survival, to more complex motivations such as personal growth. At the first level of the pyramid are our most basic needs such as food or rest, we will only jump to the next level of needs once we have covered the needs of the level we are at, and so on.

Each of these levels encompasses different needs, which are given a very important weight. At the same rate that society and technology have been growing, the human being has been incorporating more ‘basic needs’ than we previously had.

The Maslow pyramid has become a subject of study in different areas, although, especially in the business field. The needs and behavior of the consumer, arouse the interest of large brands, knowing the concerns of consumers, will favor the company’s results. For this reason, it is vital for companies to get to know and study them in order to adapt the product or service to their needs and demands.

What levels does it have?

Maslow’s pyramid is divided into five levels. As I mentioned, the main idea is that we only scale to higher needs once we have satisfied the lower needs, therefore the human being will always aspire to satisfy the higher needs of the pyramid.

The five levels into which the Maslow pyramid is divided are divided according to the relevance and the place they occupy in our life and our personal development. Instinctive behavior is established according to a series of basic needs where aspects related to survival are found in the first steps of the pyramid, and as we ascend, the pyramid increases its degree of complexity and the importance of the needs decrease.

Physiological needs

The first level of the pyramid is physiological needs. They are the most basic, such as breathing, hydrating, feeding, resting, protecting and reproducing. All those necessary for the survival of the human being.

Security Needs

The second level of Maslow’s pyramid is security needs. They are all those related to the security and stability of a person, that is, physical and healthy security, employment, income, resources, moral and family security, and private property.

Social needs

The third level of the pyramid is social needs. Also known as affiliation and affection, among them you can find affective development, association, acceptance, affection or sexual intimacy.

Recognition Needs

The fourth level of Maslow’s pyramid is recognition needs. They are those that make our self-esteem increase, provide security in ourselves. Recognition, respect, trust or success are some of them.

Self-Realization Needs

Finally, the fifth level of the pyramid is the need for self-realization. Also known as growth motivation or need to be. At this level is morality, creativity, spontaneity, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts and problem solving. All the skills that allow personal development.

Examples of Maslow’s pyramid

Below we can see some examples in each of the levels:

-Self-realization: organize a charity gala to help a social purpose.

-Recognition: become a relevant professional in your sector and win an award.

-Socials: Having a group of friends or belonging to a certain group such as a social club.

-Security: Get a job that ensures continuous income or move to a housing complex with private security.

-Physiological: for example, eat, drink and rest every day.


Application of Maslow’s pyramid to marketing

How are human needs related to marketing? The answer is very simple, marketing tries to satisfy our needs.

In the current market, we can find products that respond to different levels, for example we can find products that are based on their functionality, highly sophisticated products, products that stand out for their design or products differentiated by marketing itself, among others. Marketing has used Maslow’s pyramid to understand consumer needs and thus adapt its products to intangible values. If we look at the world of advertising, we will find millions of products that meet a basic need, but through marketing and advertising, totally different ones have been created.

The demand for products and services have been modified by the marketing and advertising used by the brands. In an environment, where there are an infinity of brands within the same sector, choosing between one or the other no longer means attending to the characteristics of the product, but rather the value that has been given to it through branding. Choosing between a luxury car like a Mercedes or a utility vehicle such as a Fiat, means much more than fulfilling its main function (moving from one place to another), means belonging to a higher social scale, where being able to be socially recognized and positively valued. Marketing has influenced human needs, we no longer look at basic needs, but we go one step further.

I hope that with this article you have solved your doubts about Maslow’s pyramid, its application and its different levels.

“The satisfaction of one need creates another”


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