Consumer Behaviour With Michael Solomon

Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the podcast today we have Michael Solomon. Michael, welcome.

Hello. Thanks so much for having me on, Thomas.

It is my pleasure. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do?

Sure. I’m a professor of marketing at St Joseph’s University in Philadelphia in the US. And my specialty is consumer behaviour. So I’ve spent my career working with companies to help them become more consumer centric and help them to understand what the process of consumption means from the customer’s point of view. That is how do people actually make sense of all the brands that surround us both, the good and the bad. So, I’ve had the opportunity as a consultant, as a speaker, as a textbook author too, to really focus – hate to say it – for the last 40 years on issues related to what does it, what does the brain mean?

And how do we use brands in our daily lives to make sense of the world? Well, you’re giving me lots of good questions to start with, so thanks for that. But the opening one is going to be inspired by the website. So on your website headline is why do they buy? How do you answer that one?

How long have you got? Yeah, I mean, it’s what’s fascinating is the reason I got into this, my training is a social psychologist. And so, I really get into this whole issue from – I guess you might say – from the social scientist perspective, why do they buy, in other words, the motivations are not nearly as obvious as they first seem. And something that I’ve been fascinated about really, my whole career is how every day, fairly mundane objects, relatively inexpensive objects are tremendously significant to us and everyone probably has.

Maybe it’s something that was passed down by a relative or a friend or partner. You have things that you treasure that don’t have much material value. And that’s very common. And the reason is that we imbue a lot of our possessions with meanings. Some of those are meanings. The manufacturer intended by the way, and some of them are definitely not. But this whole process is not nearly as “ordinary” as it seems. And so, this question, why do they buy? Obviously, this should be the first question that any marketer asks probably every day. Why do my customers buy or why are they not buying from the end? The answers often have relatively little to do with what you would guess would be the answers, which is that the product doesn’t work very well. You know, it has more to do often with the product or the brand is not really consistent with who I want to be now, maybe it was me five years ago, but it’s not me today, I’ve changed the pandemic has changed me, what have you?

And so by trying to understand the they’re actually fairly complicated relationships that consumers form with the things that they buy. We really get a much better sense of how dynamic and fluid this process is and how central it is to business by the way. Because at the end of the day, if you don’t understand these deeper meanings and you just focus on product attributes rather than the psychological benefits, you’re probably not going to do very well.

I have heard it said that people buy based on emotional decisions and then justify with logic. I’m not really too sure where that initially came from. If you’ve got any thoughts there?

Well, that’s overall a reasonably accurate statement. Many of our reactions are cognitive reactions. Our beliefs about a product really are an afterthought because we are really primed to respond emotionally rather than rationally too many of these things. It’s just a product of our evolution if you will. And so it’s quite adaptive for some for a person or some other animal living in the jungle somewhere, you know, to react very quickly on the basis of emotions and then figure out later on why that was, you know, we call that fight or flight. And so that genuine instinct, that genuine overall instinct is really very powerful. So, yes, it does. It often does make a lot of sense, not necessarily to neglect the beliefs or the functional parts of the product, but really to ask what kind of emotion is being generated here, and is that going to keep the person away from the product? Is it going to motivate them to continue to buy the product? They’re often very strong emotional attachments to everyday objects. As I was saying earlier that we often take for granted or marketers often aren’t aware of these things.

They often actually don’t give themselves enough credit because they often aren’t aware of the emotional kind of, you know, responses that even uh, you know, an everyday product can illicit. So they think that people aren’t reacting emotionally to their brands, but the reality is they often are if you were, let’s say, you have to start a business tomorrow and you had to implement some of the knowledge that you’ve spent, as you said, decades learning what is the first few things that you do in order to implement some of those learnings?

That’s a great question. You know, there’s a reason that I haven’t started good business on the terrible businessman. I’d rather study other people’s businesses. But you know, I think the first thing that I would do would be to really, really try to gain an honest and clear understanding of who my customers are, and that seems like just common sense.

But often when someone starts a business or they work for, maybe they’re managing a brand for a bigger company, they often may sort of unconsciously project themselves onto their customers and assume that if, if they think something is wonderful, their customers will as well. And that is not necessarily the case because obviously people are different and not everybody, you know, not everybody is going to go into a business where their customers are just like them. There may be some cases of that. So I think one of the biggest mistakes that that companies make is taking things for granted, falling back on stereotypes about their customers. I talked a lot about this in my latest book when I talk about the so called new chameleons, consumers who change identities very rapidly and so if we think we’re going to kind of give them a label and then and just expect them to sit there and not change or evolve over time. Um, we’re really not understanding today’s custom.

Have you got any thoughts on my company’s Ethical Marketing Service? Have you ever done any work on the ethics side of marketing and have you got any thoughts there?

Well, I’ve got a lot of thoughts about it, you know, I think that marketing tends to get a bad rap frankly, because too many people marketing is a four letter word, you know, it’s your marketing to me, which is a negative thing somehow, and certainly there are some bad apples who have contributed to that. But the reality is that ethics is first and foremost and, you know, in my marketing text books that I write it, I usually have a chapter on ethics. It’s usually the second chapter in the book after the introduction, because not only, you know, we like to say today, you can do well by doing good. So it’s not that there is somehow a trade-off that many people kind of make this equation that if I’m going to be more ethical, I’m going to make less money somehow.

So I have to find the balance in some way. But the reality is that very often the two go hand in hand and the companies that really perform with their stakeholders in mind, not just the customers, but all of their stakeholders tend to succeed over time, because they’re giving people what they want long term, not just in a transactional way. And so when you look at, for example, sustainability, which everyone is talking about today, ethical treatment of workers and so on, I think we’re finding that a lot of customers particularly the younger ones, but some older ones as well are really much more conscious of ethical issues today. And, you know, a lot of, a lot of surveys showed even before the pandemic that that social responsibility is actually the number one brand attributes that people look for all things equal. They will choose the brand that they think is giving back now that all things equal.

That’s an important caveat of course. But the point is that it’s not a trade-off, it’s actually synergistic. And so, you know, as we teach our students all from day one it is all about meeting people’s needs and marketing should be an ethical solution, not a problem because really what marketing is, is about making people’s lives better. And I know that sounds a bit like a you know, Pollyanna kind of perspective, as I’m saying that I understand that, but the reality is there are many companies out there that have done, you know, tremendous good in the world and they are still they’re still providing great returns to their stockholders. Would you say the job of marketing is? Because I mean in a simplistic way of explaining the question, kind of like the difference between direct response versus branding. And I guess another way of asking the question is, what’s the outcome, in your view that marketing should provide?

Well, you know, the things that you mentioned, really, they’re not marketing their subsumed under marketing and that’s their tactics, right? There are ways to achieve marketing goals, branding, direct marketing, what have you really are all means to an end? And that end is as I said, meeting a need and meeting it better than the competition, and educating the customer that you do meet that need better. So the way that you do that obviously depends on the situation. But, you know, many years ago, Peter Drucker, the famous management theorists, said that the goal of marketing is to make selling superfluous. That’s a very idealistic statement, I’m not sure will ever realise it. But what he meant by that of course, is that if you’ve understood your customers, you’ve identified unmet need and you’ve created an offering that satisfies that need.

In theory at least you shouldn’t need to do any selling at all because the customer will instantly recognise the value. Now we know in the real world, sometimes it takes a little product. But the point is that that when you say, what is marketing, marketing is about satisfying needs. And so all of these other things, you know, a lot of my students and businesspeople, you know, when I say when I asked them to define marketing, they’re going to give me one of two answers. They’ll either say, oh, it’s advertising or it’s selling and those happen both be promotional tools, part of the promotional mix very much at the tactical level. Again, not at the strategic level. So there’s actually many, many different ways. Once you define what your marketing executives are, then you’ve got lots of tax options available. And of course, as we know very well in today’s world, we have many, many more weapons than we used to. Probably too many. We don’t know what to do with them all, but social media, direct marketing and so on. These are just technologies that allow us to come closer to the customer and probably to measure that bond much more precisely than we used to.

Interesting. What do you think about the definition of marketing is salesmanship multiplied?

I just echo what I was just saying that that’s a very myopic view. It implies that you’re pushing something on a customer that they don’t want, which is very injurious. And I think often very inaccurate. So again, marketing is not sales, sales is, you know, personal selling is one of the ways that we might connect with customers when it’s appropriate. It’s the most obviously the most expensive form of promotion. You know, much often much better suited to be to be situations than B to C situations, especially with the advent of AI and bots that can answer your questions better than a salesperson often can in a store.

So yeah, I really would push back about that. That a very negative and I think very limited view of marketing. I’m interested in that because I kind of have a balanced view on this in the sense that the idea you want to get some form of result from your marketing, but at the same time you don’t you don’t want to be. So as you say, sales e that is off putting. But do you ever see, let’s say, some form of advertising or marketing from a big brand, and think, you know, that’s really not gonna that’s not helping you, that’s not gonna do anything?

Well, you know, certainly a lot of ad campaigns missed the mark. Maybe they try too hard, you know, some examples that come to mind or when or when older people try to talk to younger people in their language, and that that’s an example of a backfire waiting to happen, you know? So there have been a lot of companies that have got hung up on that they tried too hard to be who they’re not, you know, and that that’s the kind of thing, that’s an example, I think of what you’re talking about with, you’re better off saying nothing at all than saying something that’s obviously insincere or inaccurate comes back a little bit, I guess, to authenticity and somewhat covered in in your remarks on ethics, I suppose, and also knowing your customer.

So I guess a lot of these things come back to the same principle, would you say that’s fair?

Well I would, and there’s, you know, it’s an interesting paradox, authenticity is a huge word today, you know, and with good reason because it is a criterion, very important criterion for many consumers. You know, the question is, what do we mean by authenticity? And the paradox is that the more you try to be authentic, less authentic you are. So whenever a brand says they’re authentic, I usually assume they’re not in the same way. You know, if someone says they’re famous, if someone says they’re a thought leader or even worse, a guru, I always say if someone has to describe themselves as a guru, they’re probably not. So it’s that along that’s that same line. You know, if you if you have to keep insisting how authentic you are, you probably should give up today.

Okay, well I wanted to talk to you about your textbook on consumer behaviour. Have you got anything that you think like, what’s your favourite thing that you like to to share from that particular one and how you say it is widely used? How did it become widely used?

Well, yeah, I have several textbooks, but my biggest one is on consumer behaviour. Here in the US it is the most widely used in the world and in all of its versions, I’m proud to say it’s, you know, it’s been around for a very long time. The first edition, believe it or not, was published in 1991. So in the last century. And, and then over the years we’ve had other versions that are done. The one that comes out of London, that is used in Europe, includes as you might expect more material from the European markets and so on. And there, I guess the reason that I wrote the book and I suppose the reason one reason that it has stuck around as long as it has, is that it was the first book to acknowledge and really to celebrate many of the, let’s call it nontangible aspects of consumer behaviour. That is the recognition that we live in a symbolic world. These brands, as I said earlier, are not just as I like to say, we don’t buy things because of what they do, we buy them because of what they mean. And when I wrote the book way, way back, the existing books really didn’t capture that very well.

They’re doing a little bit better job today, but overall, the book was very much a multidisciplinary approach. So included a lot of psychology, which is my native field, sociology, anthropology, other disciplines that have a lot to say about consumer behaviour as opposed to just experimental psychologists and economists who tend to look at consumers in a much more rational kind of kind of way. And I think that’s why students have really gravitated to it over the years, because it paints a much truer picture of their lives and the way that they use brands. So I’ve been very fortunate to have that book. It’s really meant a lot to me over the years, I’m starting to now think about revising it for the 14th edition, trying not to think about that today, but yeah, it’s an ongoing process because unlike, say, an algebra textbook, you know, when students read about something that happened in 2018, they tend to say, oh well I’m not taking ancient history course, I need something relevant, I need something you know, for today. So there is a constant process going on. It’s always a work in progress, but I love it.

Have you changed your views at all as a result of the boom in, for example, social media or the internet over that time? Views in terms of I suppose your approach to how about implementing that information?

Yeah, well, I guess one thing is, and I’ve written extensively about this, the very fundamental way that we think about consumer decision making and the way we teach it is evolving and I think most marketers don’t recognise this at least yet. And what I mean by this is that we usually we usually think about decision making in terms of the set of linear steps. And this has been the dogma for many, many years. So, for example, we start by recognising that we have some problem, right? That we’re out of milk or we need a new car, what have you. And then we go through a series of steps where we try to look for information to help us solve the problem and weigh the pros and cons of the options we identify, et cetera, et cetera. The problem is that that today, really a lot of shoppers, especially younger ones, are not going through that sequential process because they’re more constantly in a state of interacting with their peers on social media, getting information about things to buy, even if they’re not necessarily looking for that information and giving other people their opinions as well. So there’s much more of an emphasis, ironically, on the community, You know, and back in the 60s and 70s – you’re way too young to remember – but you’ve read about it, you know, it was all about doing being me, being an individual. And today I think that that me is morphing into a we there’s kind of a collective we, where what I’ve noticed is, you know, for a lot of people, nothing is legitimate in their lives until it’s posted on social media.

So, you know, they have this great meal, they have to post a picture of it before they can eat it. They, you know, I’ve had, I’ve had students tell me they didn’t know that their boyfriend or girlfriend broke up with them until they saw a change in their relationship status on Facebook. So I think one of the biggest change is that social media has brought for better or for worse is that were much more enmeshed in a web of decision making, where we’re a lot more cognizant of what other people think and we’re of course more able to quantify that. So in the old days you might have the approval or disapproval of one or two friends who admire your shirt that you just bought today. You’re going to do that in terms of numbers of likes that might reach into the thousands. So it’s a very different information environment obviously today and the companies that think that they’re, they’re just gonna, you know, especially retailers who think that when someone walks into their store, either online or offline, they are totally unpersuaded and they’re ready to be quote sold.

You know, as you said before, very often, that won’t be the case. Those people already know what they’re going to buy because they’ve read the reviews and so on. They’re just looking for the best place to get it. And until you, until you have that recognition, it’s very difficult to recalibrate your marketing strategies in order to capture that new kind of information savvy person. Are you on social yourself? I am uh, not nearly as much as my kids are, but you know, you have to be, you have to be today. And of course, in a professional world, something like LinkedIn is really indispensable.

So you’re not posting your meals on there then?

Not today.

No. You mentioned brand a couple of times. I always like to get people’s take on this. So what is a brand in your view?

Well, a brand is, you know, you could take it literally and say that, you know, a brand is a is a representation of a of a company, the mark of a company and get into get into all that. But at a much level a brand is something much more complicated and interesting because a brand is essentially the umbrella of meaning, that the architecture of the entire, really the entire company, but certainly of that of that, whatever that product or service is, the brand is everything both physical and imagined that comprises the meaning of that product. So, so you’ve got elements of the brand, like, like the logo and the design and perhaps the celebrities who endorse it and so on. But all that ideally for a solid brand that’s going to endure, Those are the things that happened after you first go through the rather rigorous exercise of defining just what your brand means and who does it mean that to? Umbrella of meaning is kind of a cool phrase, don’t you think? Well, it makes sense because it encompasses many, many different elements of the brand, not just the colours you use in the logo and so on. It’s a living breathing thing in a way.

Nice answer. So you’ve got a new book out, New Chameleons, is that right?

That’s right, New Chameleons

What’s it about? And have you got a favourite part of it that you would like to share?

Sure. Well, so, you know, I wrote this book because over the years – and this is before the pandemic, by the way, I wrote it. It came out during the pandemic. You know, I began to observe a lot of really fundamental changes and disruptors going on in the world of consumer behaviour and marketing. And you know, all of your listeners know that this has been going on. But what but what I realized is that a lot of the very basic assumptions and the ways that we categorise our customers and we love to categorise well. And I talk a lot in the book about just our general tendency to put things into categories and why our brains love that so much. That is often a very efficient way to organise information about the world because otherwise there’s just too much information out there to make sense of it.

The problem is when those solutions start to become part of the problem. And what I mean by that is that back in the in the in the middle of last century traditional marketing, the way we know it now, that was really in its heyday, was kind of like the Mad Men, you know, era of marketing. And because our culture both here in the States and the UK, you know in most developed countries was at that time largely, you know, pretty homogeneous. You know, we had maybe two or three television stations or you know, BBC One, BBC Two, what have you. Everybody was to a large extent exposed to the same kinds of information. And so there was a tremendous amount of homogeneity relative to today. So it was actually quite cost efficient. And it just made a lot of sense, for example, let’s say a car company to target many, many thousands of potential buyers with the same message.

And the implicit assumption is that everyone in that group is pretty much the same. So they’re going to respond to our message the same way. Now, when you fast forward to today, we live in what we sometimes call a postmodern society where traditional boundaries and labels are blurring together in interesting ways, and that has enormous ramifications for the way we think of our customers because they are going they are creating new categories and changing their self-definitions all the time. And so I use this this metaphor of the new chameleons, because as you know, chameleon changes colour is frequently in response to external conditions. We change our not our colours but our identities frequently, often in the course of a day, you know, you take on different identities right now, you’re a podcast host. You know, you might be a parent, a partner, a student, you know, and on and on and on.

Each of those involves a change of identity. And the many products and brands are successful when they recognise that people need their brand in order to help them to complete that identity. So if we take the old style way of saying, well, we’re, you know, we’re going to target women in their thirties who live in urban areas. Well, we assume therefore that every woman who falls, who corresponds to those labels is going to be the same. And yet, if you ask any woman in her thirties who lives in an urban area, are your tastes identical to every other woman? You know, you’re probably going to get very negative reaction to that. So each of us knows that we’re unique were individuals. And yet marketers tend to view us in these broad groups. So what I do in the, in the book is, you know, I talked about that basic premise quite a bit. But in each subsequent chapter I actually take a very well entrenched dichotomy that we that we don’t even question and show why it’s no longer relevant.

So I’ll give you a few examples. Producer versus consumer. So in the old days, you know, some people made the stuff, some people bought the stuff, there was never any connection between the two today that there’s no such thing as that boundary anymore, especially because many consumers are becoming producers. We talk about the gig economy, we talk about everyday people becoming, you know, going into the hospitality business with Airbnb, going into the, into the taxi business selling products like Mary Kay or Amway, you know, housewives going into business. But also when we look at how we develop products and marketing messages increasingly at least among some companies, there’s much more of a willingness to let the customers be involved in that creation. So they become what we call co-creators of the value. So you have everyday people who are submitting ideas for new products who are creating ads that they post on YouTube for companies.

The companies have no idea they’re doing this. And so strategically there’s a lot to be gained by recognising that dichotomy doesn’t exist. Another one that I really like a different a different chapter is male versus female. You know and how more fundamental is that today? In many countries as I know in in the UK, you know, you’ve got a lot of men who are wearing, who are buying cosmetics, you’ve got obviously tremendous fluidity around gender definition and use of pronouns and all of those things that that are going on. So that’s another example. A third one I probably my favourite, I guess, of all the dichotomies is the one people versus possessions or body versus technology, you might say. And so really when we think about – and it’s tremendously relevant as I do a lot of key notes about the future of AI and shopping and what our consumers are looking for in, let’s say, an automated sales body or something like that.

We tend to assume that there’s a very strong line between humans and robots or androids and so on. We have a lot of tv shows and movies. Popular culture is just brimming with this stuff, but the reality is that first of all, many of us are already part machine. You know, anybody who has let’s say, a pacemaker in them or you know, maybe an artificial hip or something like that. Uh, people who are, who are wearing wearables like an Apple watch, I mean it’s not in your body, but it’s on your body and it’s, you know, it’s monitoring your vitals and things like that. and then you have robots, you know, like there’s one robot that, you know who Saudi Arabia made her a citizen. She’s a Japanese robot, but Saudi Arabia, you may have read made her an official citizen. So she’s lifelike enough that she can actually, she looks when she speaks, she looks incredibly lifelike. And so, you know, in the next few years, especially as AI and all that, you know, continues to steamroll, we’re going to see more and more that the demarcation between our physical selves and our digital selves obviously, but also our technological selves, these things are blending together so that in a sense, many of us are already what people call a cyborg, which is a combination of flesh and machine. It’s just fascinating to contemplate that it’s a little scary.

There’s some definite ethical issues there that I’m sure you have delved into. But again, that dichotomy, you know, the physical flesh and blood, self versus my possessions doesn’t make sense to draw that line anymore as a very thorough, authoritative answer. So, thank you very much for that. I have a complete surface level response or follow up question, which is you mentioned Mad Men, have you watched it?

Of course.

And what do you make of that?

Well, you know, I was even too young to be around then, you know?

But obviously that’s a model of advertising that will probably never go back to, especially the three Martini lunches and so on. Although everything that comes around goes around what goes around comes around. But, you know, those guys were a lot smarter than that show. Made them appear in some ways, in that the campaigns that they created at that time really worked and they worked because of some very fundamental discoveries that some of these pioneers made. We take them for granted. But they weren’t obvious then. And one is, for example, uh, if you want to succeed as an advertiser, you need to identify your client’s unique selling proposition and focus on that. What makes your brand different than the others and believe it or not, that wasn’t so obvious in the early 1960s, until some of those advertising grates came along and turned and turned, you know, unique selling proposition to a household term.

And obviously the show was romanticised to a large degree. But again some of those things are not coming back anytime soon. That was an era of mass communication where it was possible to do the things they did and to make a lot of money and to be very successful. But that would never happen today. You know today we would have a – I don’t know if they would be silicon men or something like that. But it would be much more to do with the social media titans than the advertising titans.

Yeah. Actually that leads me to my next question, which was going to be, have you got any thoughts on the USP and how influential is it now?

It’s always going to be influential because we’re always going to be looking, you know, for the best option. But the thing that is different today is that that unique selling proposition is more likely to be an emotion or some kind of a relationship outcome as opposed to taking care of your yard in a more efficient way or getting better MPG. So what we need to do is we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The USP is at the core of many decisions. But it’s crucial to broaden the definition of what constitutes that USP and to get away from an attributes approach. Too much more of a benefits approach. Psychological benefits, interesting. Thank you. I know that you’re you probably based on your experience, you’re probably more of a mentor yourself than a mentee. But I know I don’t normally do like to ask you know, have you got any mentors in your space who have, let’s say helped shape your views or have been inspirational to you? Oh, well I absolutely, I absolutely do you know from the time that I was, well certainly my professors, both undergraduate and graduate had a tremendous impact on me, but even when I came into the field and I and I came into it without any established network, because I came out of psychology directly into a business school, had never met a marketing professor before.

So I didn’t have that kind of network, you know, that people who went to school can go back to their school buddies. And so I’ve had a number of mentors over the years, both professors academics, but also some people in the business, who in the marketing research business, who took me under their wing early on. And really showed me not only had to do better research, but to some extent how to do business and how to think like a businessman. Yeah.

Yeah. Well you said earlier that you, I think your words were not a terrible businessperson, I think were your words? What makes you say that?

Well, I just never really had the desire to do that kind of thing. I’m more interested in studying it. When I say I’m a bad businessman, I mean just from the financial perspective and so on, I do, I’ve never had never had the business training. I guess that’s a poorly kept secret that I’m a business professor, but I never went to business school. So when it comes to finance and accounting and that stuff lot like most of my students and it makes my head swim a bit, the more, let’s say, qualitative stuff, the theoretical stuff, the human cantered stuff that that really rocks my boat. And I’m much more interested in that for me. Whenever I think of let’s say academia and marketing in the same place I think Dr King Houdini. Have you are you aware of his work at all? Yeah. Yeah. I know him. I know tom and actually we went through the same graduate program together, although he’s a little older as I like to remind him, is there an element of competition there? Yeah. Yeah. Well his you know his book was bob’s book was based really on the fundamentals of social psychology. When I, the first time I saw him presented I said I’m in a social psychology one on one lecture here, it’s basic stuff.

But having said that it’s very helpful to people who weren’t aware of it. So I know that his book has been, shall we say, influential over the years. And I guess laid the groundwork for many other books by other people, including myself. You know, to talk to the everyday person about just what it means to consume. So they could read your books and get just as much, if not more value is what you’re saying. Oh I didn’t say that, but I won’t argue with you. Yeah. So what your goals, Michael?

Well, you know, I want to keep doing what I’m doing. I think that especially post pandemic, it’s obviously never been more fascinating to study consumer behaviour. You know, as I like to say, there’s a there’s a Chinese curse that says, May you live in interesting times, you know that it’s a curse for marketers. It’s both a curse and a blessing right now. And you know, I want to be around a bit more to see what happens as we’re making more and more progress toward, toward understanding both the social context of decision making and marketing, but also what’s going on in here as we get more sophisticated in terms of neuro marketing and looking at psycho physiological aspects of buying.

Again, not my area of expertise per se, but all of these things coming together to paint a picture that is a lot more complicated and rich and interesting. Then it might appear at first glance, it’s not just about people buying chance of peas or automobiles. One of the things that I did want to just double check with you was you’ve worked with some quite, let’s say big brands, some quite successful companies. How did that come about? Well, um, frankly, being the author of the most widely used textbook in the area, probably helped, and certainly among academics, you know, you tend to get, you tend to be maybe a little more visible, so when they’re looking for something and back in the days before CEO and so on, you know, it really was just reputational and word of mouth and that kind of thing. So, you know, once you get, once you get one or two engagements, it obviously gets easier to Get the rest.

So for example, one, one of my first consulting arrangements with Levi Strauss, and that was because I had already written about the psychology of blue jeans and that came to their attention. So, you know, getting, getting your stuff outside of the academic channels is probably the key if you’re going to be a professor and still have one ft in the business world. Cool, well, thank you for all the answers today, I found it really beneficial. Have you got anything that you would want to add that would be valuable on this topic that I haven’t asked you about today? Well, I guess, you know, we could, if your listeners are interested in in these brand relationships, you know, we only skim the surface. You know, I was talking, I was saying that there, that it’s really vital for a brand to establish a strong psychological connection with customers in order to endure over time.

But that begs the question of what that relationship looks like. And it turns out that there are a variety of pathways to what I call brand resonance, which is what happens when a brand really is a part of who you are for some reason. Uh, there are different ways for a brand to create that bond. Um, and so if, if your listeners are interested, for example, on my website, I have, uh, an audit that you can download. There’s no charge you can download, which is just which kind of summarizes some of the major pathways to brand resonance. It’s called the brand audit. So if anyone is interested in that and they, they might want to think more about how their brand can forge a deeper connection. There are some nice examples there just download that brand audit. But, but bear in mind, it almost doesn’t matter how you do it so much, is that you do it that you really look for, that you go beyond the functionality and get into the psychology of why I really need to have your brand great answer.

So where is the best place for people to find you and to download that? Did you say it was a PDF or a report?

It’s a PDF. Yeah. Also to buy the books. Yeah. Well, my website is And you can reach me at If you go to the website, if you scroll down on the homepage, eventually you’ll see a link to download that audit. The book is available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or all the other places where people are buying books today. So I appreciate it.

All right. Thank you very much for your time today, Michael.

Thank you. My pleasure.