New Book About the Surprising Psychology Between Customer Choice and Loyalty: "The Human Brand"

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New book offers unconventional insights on how we perceive, judge and behave toward companies and brands.

The Human Brand

The Human Brand

People everywhere describe their relationships with brands of all kinds in deeply personal ways – they hate their bank, love their smartphone, and think the cable company is out to get them.

Humans make two types of judgment calls rather quickly and accurately: What are the intentions of other people toward me?, and, How capable are they of carrying out those intentions? In the academic world of social psychology, these two areas of social perception are known as warmth and competence -- they drive most human emotions and behavior toward other people.

Through their original research, Chris Malone, Managing Partner of Fidelum Partners, and Susan T. Fiske, Ph.D., a renowned social psychologist at Princeton University, have discovered that customers choose companies and brands in the same way that they naturally perceive, judge, and behave toward one another – on the basis of their warmth and competence.

In their new book THE HUMAN BRAND: How We Relate to People, Products and Companies (Jossey-Bass / October 2013), Malone and Fiske, explain why upstarts such as Honest Tea, Domino’s, Lululemon, Zappos, and Chobani have surged in popularity while many traditionally dominant companies and brands have been flagging.

Drawing on decades of experience, as well as proprietary research that studied over 5,000 adults in the United States and over 45 leading brands, including icons such as McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Tropicana, Hershey’s, and Mercedes, Malone and Fiske have created an essential book for every business reader.

In THE HUMAN BRAND, Malone and Fiske offer ground breaking insights into the psychology of customer choice and loyalty, including:

•ourWhy our immediate future so strongly resembles our distant past
•Why we expect companies and brands to commit to us first
•The simple and reliable way to demonstrate warmth and competence
•How faceless commerce leads to a focus on discounts
•What we learn from the people behind the things we buy
•Why mistakes and crises are a golden loyalty opportunity

And they offer three fundamental imperatives for action:

•Become More Self-Aware of Warmth & Competence Perceptions
•Embrace Significant Change in Business Practices
•Fundamentally Shift Priorities to Balance the Interests of Multiple Stakeholders

“Our research also documents how the big banks, oil companies, and telecom firms have all developed policies and practices that are fundamentally at odds with the spontaneous triggers of human trust and loyalty,” write Malone and Fiske. “The internet, social networks, and mobile communications all have worked together to undermine previously powerful forces in the economy. We contend that a new Relationship Renaissance between customer and company is emerging out of the Middle Ages of Marketing. Customers now have near-instantaneous power to hold companies and brands accountable for their words and actions. That power will continue to grow in the years ahead.”

THE HUMAN BRAND details how market leading companies and brands are putting the best interests of customers ahead of their own to forge genuine, lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with them. It is an essential must-read for those who want a truly evolved understanding of how to earn loyalty and create lasting relationships with customers.

Chris Malone (Philadelphia, PA) is Managing Partner of Fidelum Partners, a research-based consulting and professional services firm that helps clients achieve sustained customer loyalty and business performance.

As a consultant and keynote speaker, he has worked with hundreds of senior executives in organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-up and non-profits. Chris has over twenty years of sales, marketing, consulting, and organizational leadership experience, and a track record of driving growth and profitability. He was chief marketing officer at Choice Hotels International and senior vice president of marketing at ARAMARK Corporation, and has held senior marketing and sales positions at leading organizations including the Coca-Cola Company, the National Basketball Association, and Procter & Gamble.

He is frequently quoted in business publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report. He has published articles in Advertising Age, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and Forbes, and appeared as a guest on CNBC and NPR.

Malone holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland at College Park and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Susan T. Fiske (Princeton, NJ) is Eugene Higgins Professor, Psychology and Public Affairs, at Princeton University. She investigates social cognition—especially groups’ images and the emotions they create—at cultural, interpersonal, and neuroscientific levels. She is author of over three hundred publications and winner of numerous scientific awards, including election to the National Academy of Science. Most recently she has edited Beyond Common Sense: Psychological Science in the Courtroom (2008), the Handbook of Social Psychology (2010, 5/e), the Sage Handbook of Social Cognition (2012), and Facing Social Class: How Societal Rank Influences Interaction (2012). Currently she is an editor of Annual Review of Psychology, Science, and Psychological Review.

Susan has written two upper-level texts: Social Cognition (2013, 4/e) and Social Beings: Core Motives in Social Psychology (2014, 3/e). Sponsored by a Guggenheim, her 2011 Russell-Sage-Foundation book is Envy Up, Scorn Down: How Status Divides Us.

Susan holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and honorary doctorates from the Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, and Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands.

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