The Human Brand: How We Relate to People, Products, and Companies
People everywhere describe their relationships with brands of all kinds in deeply personal ways—we hate our banks, love our smartphones, and think the cable company is out to get us. What's actually going on in our brains when we make these judgments?
Through their original research, customer loyalty expert Chris Malone and social psychologist Susan Fiske show that we relate to companies, brands, and even inanimate products in the same way that we naturally perceive, judge, and behave toward one another.
Early humans developed a kind of genius for making two specific kinds of quick judgments: What are the intentions of other people toward me? And how capable are they of carrying out those intentions? Social psychologists call these two categories of perception warmth and competence, and they drive most of our emotions and behavior toward other people—and in today's modern world, toward businesses too. As a result, we become devoted to certain companies, brands, even products, but we also have high expectations for loyalty from them in return.
Having evaluated over 45 companies across 10 separate studies, Malone and Fiske offer in-depth analyses of companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Hershey's, Domino's, Lululemon, Zappos, Amazon, Chobani, and Sprint, showing how they manage to achieve success and sustain it—even recovering from major missteps—by forging genuine relationships with customers.
The Human Brand is essential reading for understanding how and why we make the choices we do, as well as what it takes for companies and brands to earn and keep our loyalty in the digital age.