Just about to finish reading “Buying In – What we buy and Who we are” by Rob Walker. I good read for anyone that is involved in selling stuff to consumers through branding and marketing efforts. It goes further than a previous book I read about consumer traits (Spent – Geoffrey Millar) and how we buy stuff to show off our individual personalities through evolutionary trait display. This book takes a slightly different view that suggest that we buy stuff more to support our internal narrative about ourselves, and not necessarily about showing off to others.
Lot’s of great examples and arguments that support the concept. Found it to be an easy read and insightful. Observations of the current consumer space and the issues that today’s marketing has to contend with compared to more traditional approaches. I think some very powerful ideas are put forward about branding and how people are not so much resisting branding but more about adopting the concepts and language of branding to support their own internal self fulfillment, as suggested on Maslow’s heirarchy of needs.
Branding is a big focus in the book and definitely it makes you appreciate the power of the branding language, and how much is now part of our culture. It is fascinating how it has become something that we can take part in and add to the conversations, rather than resist as Naomi Klein suggest in her book ” No Logo”. Brands are being embraced rather than repelled by today’s consumers and especially among the youth and new start ups. The main take away message from the book is really that consumer behavior today is and always has been about our stories we tell ourselves, it is about who we are and what we believe, branding is part of that story telling process and is being used as such by today’s consumers not rejected.