Human truths: The driving force of great creative

Human truths are insights that are undeniably true.

Used wisely, they capture the feelings we know so well, but perhaps haven’t articulated.

They scratch the itch we didn’t know was there.

In creative work, human truths are slithers of gold, because they connect with us on a deeper level.

They leap over the features, the benefits, the surface-level logic of why we should buy and they touch down in the place every brand wants to be – resonance.

While the term ‘human truth’ has an air of seriousness, these insights can fall anywhere on the emotive spectrum.

Take OAK’s HungryThirsty campaign from The MonkeysThe human truth here? Sometimes we feel a little bit hungry and a little bit thirsty.

Or Golden Gaytime’s ice cream bites campaign from Clemenger BBDO Sydney. The guiding human truth: We all know what it’s like to have a friend who constantly asks for a bite of our food.

If these truths feel a bit obvious, good. They should. Genuine human truths aren’t met with “eureka!”. They’re met with “of course”. They are hiding in plain sight, right under our noses. They are simple. That is their power.

Why human truths work

On the hierarchy of needs, a sense of belonging slots in right after our need for physiological essentials and safety.

We all want to belong. We all want to feel understood. And when a piece of creative connects with a feeling, experience, thought, or goal that lives deep inside us – that’s exactly how we feel.

Human truths aren’t just for campaigns

Brand connection is more psychological than logical, which is why no one ever built a brand by just talking about the benefits.

Human truths are essential in forging brand identities that are textured, engaging, and geared for connection.

Take Disney, who made an empire from this simple human insight:
We all want to experience awe. We all want to lose ourselves in magic.

Positioning itself as the happiest place on earth, Disney took a simple, enduring human truth and built a kingdom. In everything Disney does is an invitation to step into a world of wonder; a call to reconnect with the imagination that took you on so many adventures as a child.

Human truths can only be discovered

Human truths cannot be made, they can only be discovered. They are artefacts hiding in plain sight – waiting to be unearthed.

But being found, rather than created doesn’t mean they are effortless to assemble. Identifying human truths takes rigorous research into your brand, audience, and the market landscape you exist within.

But here’s the catch – research alone doesn’t make a human truth.

Data can only take you so far. What it needs is something that cannot be mined from research or pulled from the pages of journals.

What you need is meaning; an ability to read between the lines; an innate understanding for life’s textures. What you need is the ‘human’.

The data said: Hunger negatively affects our mood.
The human truth: You’re not you when you’re hungry.

Whether you’re building a brand or a campaign, the truth is your greatest shot at connection. And if you’re looking for a hand to deliver creative that rings true? Get in touch