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Chip Conley—A Modern Day Hierarchy of Needs

At Madplum Creative, we believe that marketing is about more than just selling products; it’s about helping brands present their very best “selves” in order to build long-lasting relationships with consumers. All too often, it seems companies lose sight of their core values and get caught up in the day-to-day scramble for survival—pushing out quick-turn product promotions, sending misguided social bombs, attempting to calculate and make sense of big data analytics, and scraping for short-term gains, all while hoping the competition doesn’t lure their core customers away. Meanwhile, Madplum Creative takes a “back-to-basics” approach, focusing on building a brand’s foundation and working to create meaningful, engaging, consumer-focused content that serves a greater purpose.

Author and hospitality hero, Chip Conley (founder of Joie de Vivre hotels and head of AirBnB global hospitality and strategy), has an inspiring way of looking at business with a modern-day interpretation of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Conley’s book, PEAK: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow, essentially provides an operations manual for addressing human needs through brand touchpoints, creating consumer loyalty and driving long-term vision and ROI in the process. His theory focuses on three separate motivation pyramids, or “relationships to truth,” which target the distinct audiences of employees, customers, and investors. Each of these pyramids move from tangible qualities at their bases to more intangible qualities at their peaks, the point at which brand loyalty and long-term relationships are created. It’s a need-oriented marketing model that creates successful brands by empowering consumers to realize their own true potential. Conley’s business approach has paid dividends for the Joie de Vivre brand, and is a theory we return to time and time again in much of our work at Madplum Creative.


An early exercise in self-actualization came during our work with Martis Camp, a premier real estate destination nestled in Lake Tahoe’s North Shore. Recognized by Forbes magazine as the “best four-season private community in the U.S.,” crafting work for this luxury destination was truly an exercise in “perfecting perfection.” To bring the online experience home, we first thought about how we could build a website to satisfy base needs and create a sense of community among not just prospective buyers, but current members and employees as well. In order to provide utility to all three audiences, we created an immersive, interactive “virtual campfire” where visitors could gather to share stories, check real-time weather and traffic conditions, and get the latest property news. We also encouraged current members to send virtual e-cards to family and friends from a beautifully curated photo gallery. Prospective buyers were invited to become temporary virtual members, giving them immersive access and real insight into everyday life on the property. For employees, we made it easier than ever to schedule and promote property events, providing them with a voice and validating their contributions to the brand. Taking a nod from Conley’s PEAK helped us define Martis Camp’s key brand audiences, satisfy their core needs, and provide a forum for them to ladder up to meet a higher tier of desires, all while enjoying a one-of-a-kind experience.

Clearly, our clients could not have been happier with the results:

“Madplum Creative helped craft a website that would be more functional and better serve our core audiences. Their design aesthetic is educated, refined, hand-crafted, and pairs perfectly with the grand vision for Martis Camp. Given its size, I don’t think our website could have been successfully created and launched so quickly without their unique approach. Madplum was wise, tech-savvy, creative, incredibly responsive, gracious, and just plain fun to get to know.”

Kelly Heapy—Martis Camp, Creative Director

Madplum Creative finds constant inspiration in ascending projects through the lens of Conley’s modern-day Hierarchy of Needs. It’s a process that allows us to place consumers at the center of the experience, focusing on ways they can participate with brands and build meaningful relationships in the process. In today’s modern marketing world of quick-fire tactics and instant-gratification results, we believe it’s more important than ever to help our clients slow down to celebrate what makes them unique, using this as the beacon for moving consumers toward greater life (and brand) experiences.

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