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Human beings, your customers included, are concerned about their status in society—and have been for as long as societies have existed. That's because much of status-seeking is instinctual: It's hard-coded in us because status improves our chances of survival.

"People learned early on that respect from their community translated directly into better protection, more desirable mating options, and better cuts of shared resources like food and shelter," points out a blog post and infographic by Lexington Law, which provides credit-repair services.

In modern consumer societies, that instinct can express itself in some interesting ways. For example, 77% of Millennials admit to having made a purchase so that they could post about it on Instagram.

Psychologists categorize status as an "esteem need" on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs:

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image of Vahe Habeshian

Vahe Habeshian is the director of publications at MarketingProfs and a longtime editor. Reach him via vahe@marketingprofs.com.

Twitter: @habesh