During the 193rd episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Dr. Emmanuel Probst, the author of “Brand Hacks: How To Build Brands By Fulfilling The Human Quest For Meaning.” He holds a doctorate in consumer psychology and teaches market research at UCLA. He also works for Ipsos, advising clients on how to measure and optimize their marketing efforts. 

Probst has been studying “why people buy” for about 15 years and shares with us his definition of “meaning” and what he means when using that term. We discuss his book and the tools and tactics a brand manager has at their disposal.

Probst shares that he got into the industry because he is “curious about people,” and notes, “I like to understand why people do what they do, and how people make decisions as individuals, but also as a community, as a group and as a society.” He wrote the book because he wanted to take a different stance on building brands. He felt it important to, “take a step back, understand what consumers want to achieve as individuals, and from there, build brands that fulfill these quests for meaning.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”: 

  • Emmanuel’s background and path to becoming an author and consultant. (01:38) 
  • The reason for writing his book “Brand Hacks.” (02:34)  
  • What people are really looking for in brands. (03:48)  
  • The definitions of “meaning,” according to Dr. Emmanuel Probst. (04:25)  
  • The nuances for the right to define our own meaning. (06:17)  
  • Three types of “meanings” and examples of each. (07:33)  
  • The importance of “nostalgia” in meaning. (10:17)  
  • How does the approach to “meaning” and methodologies in “Brand Hacks” compare to other methodologies? (11:47)   
  • An example of one brand that bridges the gap of multiple methodologies. (14:42)   
  • CrossFit and the notion of community. (18:36)  
  • Top recommendations for brands or marketers leading brands. (20:40)  
  • The experiences of Emmanuel’s past that defines who he is today. (22:20)  
  • Advice for Emmanuel’s younger self. (24:18) 
  • What keeps Emmanuel doing what he does? (25:27)  
  • Brands, companies or causes to take notice of. (27:17)  
  • Biggest opportunity or threat to marketers. (29:51) 

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.