Assemblage: The Art and Science of Brand Transformation | Ep. 190

Dr. Emmanuel Probst joins Sima on the podcast today.

He is the bestselling author of Brand Hacks and the newly-published book, Assemblage. In addition to writing books, he is also the Global Lead of Brand Thought-Leadership at Ipsos. In this episode, he talks to Sima about his latest book and the changing narrative he has seen in brand purpose over the last several years.


The second edition of Brand Hacks came out in September 2021. Assemblage: The Art and Science of Brand Transformation will be officially released on the 24th of January, 2023. Dr. Probst is considering writing another book in 2024.

Curiosity and fulfillment

Dr. Probst believes that curiosity is essential for finding solutions and becoming successful in the world of marketing today. He has found it fulfilling to learn from people from different cultures and professional backgrounds. He feels we can learn as much from those who started in the industry recently as we can from industry leaders with C-level titles and many years of experience.

The problem with having too many brands and too many product choices

Dr. Probst wrote the book Assemblage: The Art and Science of Brand Transformation because he was seeing way too many products and brands. He feels that having too many choices is counter-productive because having too many options makes it hard for people to know what truly matters and which products to choose.

What people expect from brands

Studies done by Ipsos have shown that people expect all brands- regardless of the industry, to deliver good products that work for them. They also expect those brands to make an impact on their lives and offer a positive contribution to the world at large.

A shift in brand purpose 

Since Covid, Dr. Probst has seen a shift in brand purpose. As a result of what is going on in the world today and the acceleration of social media, consumers no longer support brands that claim to have a purpose. They now support the brands that demonstrate their purpose intentionally.

Harnessing the power of the audience

In the past, brand leaders could dictate the narrative of their brand strategy to their audience. That no longer applies today, so in Assemblage, Dr. Probst explains what brands must do to harness the power of their audience, and co-create the narrative of their brand along with their audience.

The difference between expectations and intentions

Consumers’ product expectations relate to what they hope to receive and how reliably the products work. Intention is a co-creative process between brands and people to activate and inform what comes next.

The outcomes of the co-creative process of intention for brands

Co-creating with intention extends the value chain for brands because it makes the output more tangible and allows for a return on investment or ad spend to be perceived more realistically.

Challenges for brand managers

Big data can be overwhelming for brand managers. That’s why it is helpful to have professional guidance from a company like Ipsos, to inform them tactically and strategically, and assist them in teasing out the most significant data.

Some advice for brand managers

When talking to their audience, brands must understand and appreciate that people tend to get overwhelmed, confused, and anxious about who they are in real life, who they are on social media, and who they will appear to be in the metaverse. So brands need to create meaningful relationships and reassure people about the future of our society. They also need to sell less and provide better products with a longer lifespan.


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Emmanuel Probst on LinkedIn


Dr. Emmanuel Probst’s latest book, Assemblage: The Art and Science of Brand Transformation, will available on Amazon on January 24, 2023.

Books mentioned:

The Paradox of Choice, by Barry Schwartz