Crafting a brand is complicated because, by definition, your brand is tied to people.

Yes, people are customers and customers are people: People = Customers, Customers = People.

Deep insights into what people really want are the building blocks for great brand development. Let’s cut through the marketing jargon, demographic nonsense, and vanity metric noise to focus in on what it is people really want.

First, humans are social creatures. We cherish family and develop social circles, host dinner parties, play on sports teams and join book clubs to fulfill our undeniable need for affiliation.

Second, we strive to earn the respect of others, and seek validation for our contributions. We all want to feel like we’re providing value to the world and that that value is appreciated.

Third, we desire to discover our unique identity and become our true selves. We seek to live into our uniqueness and surround ourselves with identity-edifying products, people and circles.

The majority of people are more concerned with these three ‘higher needs’ when they make decisions about their purchase – affiliationvalidation and identity.

Most brands fail to address these needs – relying on a cost-benefit / interruption based approach instead. To develop an effective brand, you should focus on meeting the higher needs of your customers.

Refocus your brand development efforts on affiliation, validation and identity.