How to find a human truth to power your brand

Posted on April 22, 2021

Updated on March 13, 2023

3 min read time

A group of happy target customers smiling

Behind every great brand, product or creative idea is a human truth that is universally true and connects with us in a meaningful way. 

What is a human truth? 

A human truth forms the basis of a brand's proposition as well as its purpose, and guides creative development. It is:

  • A new way of looking at the world that gets us to re-examine and challenge the status quo 
  • A penetrating observation about human behavior that results in us seeing customers from a fresh perspective  
  • A discovery about the underlying motivations that drive people’s actions. 

Through a human truth, key consumer problems are identified from which clear resolutions can be laid out. A human truth goes beyond stats, observations and statements;

  • Stats alone will not lead to a human truth. To get to the human truth, you need to attribute meaning to your dataset
  • Observations are similar, and it's only when you go beyond an observation and try to interpret why people behave in a certain way, that you get closer to the truth 
  • Statements of need are also insufficient when trying to obtain a human truth. Going beyond the statement and identifying the motivation behind the desire will lead you to a human truth.

Why is a human truth important? 

man building brand strategy

The search for a human truth is based around finding meaning. That’s why it’s so important for every good brand idea to be rooted in human truth, as it will focus the brand journey, reduce irrelevance, and ensure all ideas are centered around providing meaning, and fulfilling a need. It helps you to uncover the motivations behind your consumers’ feelings, thoughts and behaviors.  

Finding a human truth 

To find a relevant human truth, identify what is common in your group but not immediately obvious. You’ll know you’ve struck gold, when you receive a reaction like this from your audience, ‘You do that too? I thought it was just me'. 

Consider what is going on in your consumers’ world. Are there any cultural shifts that could be impacting your target consumers' behavior? After picking apart these external influences, you’ll need to identify the truth that sits behind these trends as well as the tension that exists.

Target Audience

group of people a target audience

To uncover a human truth, first you’ll need to closely identify your target audience. Segment them to glean a deeper understanding of what unites them. 

When segmenting your group, consider:   

  • Location – Targeting a group of people based on geography. It could be you choose to segment by country, city, town, or even more generally by dividing your audience into city dwellers. 
  • Demographics – Targeting people based on their personal characteristics. This could be as specific as, age, gender, occupation or a person’s socioeconomic position. 
  • Lifestyle – Targeting people based on their lifestyle choices. This could include a focus on mindset, hobbies, character or even family values. 
  • Behaviors – Targeting people based on how they react to a certain product or service. For this category, you could choose to only focus on users, non-users or occasion buyers.  

The closer you segment and understand your target, the more likely you are to find a penetrating human truth. This segmentation will alter depending on the product, service or creative idea. If you’re considering launching a new fitness product, it makes sense to focus on individuals with active sport-related hobbies. Likewise, if you’re in the market to develop a new premium gin, you may want to target by age, occupation and region. 

How to get to the truth  

brand manager looking at customer intelligence

Now that you’ve defined your audience it’s time to focus on uncovering the undeniable truth that unites them.

To get to this truth, speak to consumers in your category to discover what motivates them, what makes them tick. Observe them and their behavior, their values and their views on the world to get to that ultimate understanding of what drives them. Keep drilling down into the ‘why’ behind every discovery you make.

Tips to consider when forming your human truth: 

  • Don’t go too deep. You want to go deeply enough to understand the motives of your consumer, but not so deep that your truth won't be able to drive your brand's proposition or any creative idea. If you’re considering why humans like to eat, don’t go down the route of ‘eating to survive’. In this case, you’ll want to understand the motives that drive consumers to purchase specific food items, not why they want to eat these items in the first place.  
  • Make sure your human truth is concise and addresses a tension you've uncovered which is common to your target audience.

Brands that endure in the market are ones that revise their human truths based on modern context. Don’t pick an idea and stick to it. It’s crucial to continue developing your ideas and re-evaluate whether your value proposition is grounded in truth despite the changing cultural landscape.

The applications of a human truth 

A human truth is fundamental for brand growth. Once developed, it can be widely applied to your brand, to steer your proposition, guide your creative ideas or help you create a winning and closely targeted NPD.  

If you want your concepts to land in market, it’s essential you really drill down into what’s important for your target audience. That’s where the human truth lives. It provides certainty to your ideas, ensuring they are always based on tangible evidence. 

For a more precise method, why not venture into CreativeLab, ProQuo’s instant brand guidance feature, to test and optimize any creative idea - from initial concept to final impact?

Input your metrics into the platform and in a couple of hours, you’ll receive constructive feedback from over 300 people in your category, including actionable plans on how to improve your idea. 

So now you know what you can do with a human truth, it’s time to start developing your own!


NPD Guide

Previous post
Next post

Similar posts you may be interested in

The Ultimate Guide to Analyzing Consumer Sentiment

Brand Management, Brand Reputation

Read more

Why Market Research Needs to Embrace AI

Brand Management, Artificial Intelligence

Read more

The Metrics that Matter: How to Measure Marketing Effectiveness

Brand Management, Proving Marketing Effectiveness

Read more