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Maslow’s model of needs: application to Cunard and White Star marketing communications between 1900 and the 1950s

Gladden, G (2020) Maslow’s model of needs: application to Cunard and White Star marketing communications between 1900 and the 1950s. Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, 12 (3). pp. 323-344. ISSN 1755-750X

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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to analyse Cunard’s marketing communications during a period of significant social and economic change. The intention is to show firstly how the company sought to meet and influence potential passengers understanding of their needs and secondly, how these would be met. Design/methodology/approach Maslow’s model of needs is used as the analytical methodology. Findings Beyond a description and review of Cunard’s marketing communications, Maslow’s model of needs is shown to provide a rationale to the company’s approach. In particular, it gives an understanding of the continued, though changing, use of images of the ship to meet the needs of different cohorts of passengers. It shows how carefully constructed images in both word and picture assuaged passengers concerns over social needs and how the company promised to meet the highest needs, whether that be for the holiday maker or the emigrant. Research Limitations During much of the period under discussion much of the advertising design work was done in house. Whilst none of these files have survived, other sources of information (for example, house magazines and internal correspondence) provide an understanding of Cunard’s attitude to its customers and the business opportunities it saw in a changing market. Where specific dates for documents are not available, a chronology of shipbuilding and use has been applied. Practical implications The paper shows how a well-established model can be used in a different way, adding to our understanding of a company adapting to changing social and economic conditions. Originality/Value As far as the author is aware this is the first time that Maslow’s model has been used explicitly as a tool to analyse marketing communication. Whilst the existing literature includes some discussion of shipping line posters visual content, there is little further discussion of their content or purpose in a changing social context. This paper provides a more structured analytical view.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The AAM is deposited under the above licence and any reuse is allowed in accordance with the terms outlined by the licence. To reuse the AAM for commercial purposes, permission should be sought by contacting permissions@emeraldinsight.com.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1505 Marketing, 1402 Applied Economics, 2103 Historical Studies
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Publisher: Emerald
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2020 10:31
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 07:38
DOI or ID number: 10.1108/JHRM-11-2018-0053
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12546
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