7 October 2014 | 14 Comments
Recently I was interviewed on a podcast called The Gaming Careers Podcast. The host, Stephen, asked me a great question that I’ve never considered in regards to Kickstarter and crowdfunding:
On your personal blog you offer advice to managers about the 5 love languages. How could this apply to the Kickstarter space?
The interviewer had really done his research! The love languages are a concept that I’ve written about several times on my personal blog (here and here), but never here on this Kickstarter blog. But I’m glad Stephen made the connection, because the love languages are all about improving relationships, and so is Kickstarter.
Here’s the basic concept of the love languages, a term originally coined and developed by Dr. Gary Chapman: We each feel loved and valued when people do different types of things for us. Because of that, our assumption is that other people feel loved through those same things, but that assumption is rarely correct.
For example, you might feel loved and valued when a friend gives you a gift on your birthday. So on that friend’s birthday, you give them a gift. However, that friend actually doesn’t care much about gifts at all. They much more highly value quality time with you–they would feel more loved if you took them out to lunch for their birthday.
The key is that once we get to know the love languages of the people we care about instead of imposing our love languages onto them, we can have much stronger relationships with them.
Here’s a list of all 5 love languages with some real-life examples of how you can act on them:
- Words of Affirmation (giving your wife a compliment or telling your child that you’re proud of them)
- Acts of Service (taking out the trash for your husband even though it’s his chore or running an errand for your mother so she doesn’t have to)
- Receiving Gifts (giving a present to a friend or making something special for your grandmother)
- Quality Time (taking your boyfriend out to his favorite restaurant or going on lunch run with coworker)
- Physical Touch (giving your wife a shoulder massage or hugging a friend)
Everyone experiences these love languages in different ways, and it’s important to be aware of your own love languages as well as those of the people around you. There are quizzes you can take to determine your love languages, but really the easiest way to do it is to rank them, thinking of concrete examples of what you value and how you feel loved. Then have your spouse or best friend do the same. You might be surprised by what you learn about them.
But the really cool thing that I realized today while discussing the topic with Stephen is that the love languages apply to Kickstarter backers too! Let’s look at the list from that perspective:
- Words of Affirmation: This can involve thanking backers as a whole for building the project with you, or recognizing individual backers for their efforts.
- Acts of Service: What can you do for your backers to make their lives easier? Part of this is structuring the project in a way that saves them the most inconvenience, like EU-friendly shipping. And part of this could mean that you dedicate a little bit of time to help your backers in unique ways, like looking over their project page if they decide to be a creator someday.
- Receiving Gifts: Some backers get really excited about all the stretch goal goodies. They might feel a little like gifts to the backers because they’re getting that extra stuff without having to pay extra.
- Quality Time: Some backers really want to interact with you, particularly in the comments, but sometimes over e-mail too. They want to feel your presence during the project, whether it’s to answer questions about the project or just to talk about random stuff.
- Physical Touch: For some backers, they really want to meet you and hang out. You can do this at conventions, but you can also bridge the digital gap by showing your face on the project video, photos, and other videos you post during the project. It’s not quite the same as reaching through the computer and giving a backer a hug, but it’s a suitable (and slightly less imposing) alternative.
The key to all this is that each backer feels valued (and yes, loved) in different ways, and it’s your job as the project creator to offer those love languages to your backers even if they’re different than the way you feel valued when you back a project. There is no set template for each backer–everyone is different, and everyone experiences the full range of the love language spectrum in different ways.
I’m sure there are lots of ways to explore this concept, so if you’re a fan of the love language and want to share your thoughts, I’d love to hear them in the comments. Also, if you’re new to the love languages, I hope you take a minute to explore the concept, especially with your spouse. It’s a very practical concept to apply to any relationship.
PS. For the record, my top love language is “acts of service.” When someone does something to save me time (my most precious resource), that makes me feel valued and loved. In a way, the converse is true too: When someone abuses my time, it has the opposite effect. So perhaps it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the love languages for their adverse effects too.
You can listen to the podcast I mentioned at the beginning here.