The Apparent & The Hidden
All of us move up levels on the Maslowian hierarchy. Which means our needs change and therefore the factors that motivate change accordingly. For example, when you sought your first job it was about working for a branded company that paid well. Pay was important. But years later, pay isn't as important as position. Its designations that now matter. On the hierarchy, from a lower 'security level' you've moved to 'esteem'.
Now when the move on the hierarchy plays out in front of you, its fascinating to watch it unfold. More so if its a li'l child in question. I am talking my three year old son, Jaden. Earlier his obstinacy centered around him wanting something as a response to a physiological need. Chocolates when he was hungry, though we disapproved. But now, its more than just a physiological response. This morning he insisted on having the complete pack of Ginger biscuits. He refused to share one with Alphy. He very well knew he wouldn't be able to finish the pack, yet wanted the whole of it. It wasn't so much satiating hunger he was insisting on, it was more a show of will that he wanted us to recognise and respect. Meaning, he wanted the power to dictate terms. Its more ego than anything else.
We know at such times our response has to be thoughtful. Deny, and we dent his identity, acquiesce and we may be setting ourselves up for more unreasonable obstinacy in the future. What did we do? We let him have the whole pack with the condition that once he's finished, if there would be biscuits left, they'd go to mom.
Its interesting how most motives have within them an element of our desire to dictate identities. On the surface responses may seem as reactions to apparent needs, but they aren't. Its important for us to gauge the needs that fall in the territory of esteem. This understanding is imperative to marketers too. Consumer don't buy purely on functional considerations, there's almost always a hidden psychological motive that comes along. Brands that are able to connect are ones that can uncover hidden motives. The Soft Drink isn't just about thirst, its about personality. The Denim trousers aren't about clothes, but attitudes. And so on.
Brands that score are brands that uncover. The apparent and the hidden.
As you said element of our desire to dictate identities. And every individual is unique and different from other. Thats the very reason God has created us all, else one would suffice the purpose no need of others! I numerous desires of our daily life for some we do have esteem need underline by our desire to prove identity.
Maybe copywriting's a good idea :)