Soundview Executive Book Summaries

September 17, 2008, 10:55 AM
Filed under: Marketing | Tags: ,

There’s nothing wrong with appreciating a certain brand of a product. Perhaps you prefer the fit of one brand’s jeans to another, or you like Coca-Cola over Pepsi (a regular debate over by the vending machines). But in these instances, it’s the product you’re focused on, right? Or have you been consumed by the marketing department’s clever and intriguing branding campaign?


Enter “Consumed” columnist for The New York Times Magazine, Rob Walker and his book Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are. Walker takes a careful look at why we buy stuff, sliding us under the microscope and dissecting how consumers interact with brands and the 360 degree advertising campaigns we have surrounding us. Case in point: One of my former editors always asked for a Kleenex, never a tissue, when she needed to blow her nose. Would Puff’s Plus suffice? She’d always look at me like I was slightly off and just say sure. Why? Because she identified Kleenex as more than the brand, it was the product to her. That’s what she grew up with, so from an early age they weren’t tissues, they were Kleenex.


Walker discusses how today’s youth is embracing brands as a form of self-expression; to them they’re not just buying a specific brand of clothing, liquor or vehicle; they’re buying a lifestyle.


And youths aren’t the only ones “buying in.” Look around your office and take note. Once you’ve finished that, take some time to check out this interview with Walker conducted by Jessica Herman of Stop Smiling Magazine and this interview by Newsweek. If you want to see what else Walker is up to, check out his blog.  Just a few things to keep your Web reading interesting.


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