guerillagirl – user experience designer

guerillagirl's (ux) design journal

Books: The Human Brand – How we relate to people, products and companies

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I just finished reading „The Human Brand“ written by social psychologist Susan T. Fiske and Chris Malone, a Brand consultant. I have to admit: I’m a huge Fan of Susan Fiskes’ work in social psychology since the stereotype content model and the dimensions of warmth and competence were basically introduced to our course during the first semester in psychology. It’s based on solid research and it helps to explain how we perceive different people and form those implicit cognitive stereotypes which can result in emotional prejudices.

The basic outcome of this book is, that we relate to companies, products and brands as if they were humans – which means we have implicit feelings towards them which will result in trust (or not) and customer loyalty (or not). It tells us why a short termed, profit-based approach – which we can often find in the field – may become some sort of „death sentence“ to businesses, especially in the digital age.

There are a plenty of well researched real world examples and case studies which are fun to read. The book covers only basically user interfaces in the terms of warmth and competence too (like: Computers as social actors). Its not the main topic but you can adapt the findings easily to design strategy, for example.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who is working in the fields of User Experience Consulting or Design strategy, brand consulting or marketing and to business owners/CEOs.
This is definitely not some shady „Guru“ bullshit book filled with senseless noise and nice sounding buzzwords – nope: this one is in my opinion a well-researched must-read and it contains a paradigm shift for marketers and consultants.

If you have some time, in this video the stereotype content model is explained, too (>1hr and sadly bad sound)

And the books short marketing video:

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