Betterment – The Human Desire for Constant Improvement

Self-improvement is one of the deepest-rooted desires in human nature. Even more importantly, it’s a fundamental driver of behavior inside the modern consumer arena, where people strive to present an interesting and aspirational image to the world. Once people escape the bottom part of Pavlov’s hierarchy of needs pyramid, they care less about what they have and more about who they are. And who they want to be. This perpetuates an industry based on self-enhancement that encompasses all facets of life: education, health, financial health, relationships, skills, knowledge, spirituality, ethics – the list is endless.

The Challenge? We are humans! We have the burning desire to improve but we have conflicting desires to sleep, be passive, procrastinate and be lazy. The Solution?  Fuse technology with a deep exploration and understanding of human behavior to resolve the tension between the desire to be better and human nature by offering rewarding experiences that help people become who they want to be. Rewards can be monetary but the most successful companies use more aspirational and satisfying rewards: Fitbit asks their users to burn calories in order to give calories, resulting in 15 million meals for people in need. Uruguay’s Mamut lets customer buy shoes with used plastic bottles. Insurance companies are starting to partner with fitness trackers to offer savings in exchange for being healthier. At THINK 15, we explored further how the “Betterment” trend is changing consumer behavior and how important it will be for credit unions to tap into the human desire of self-improvement. Only credit unions that improve the lives of their members will be loved and see high loyalty scores. “The desire to reach for the sky runs deep in our human psyche.” – Cesar Pelli