Data Gurus


How to Build Brands by Fulfilling the Human Quest for Meaning with Dr. Emmanuel Probst | Ep. 88

Dr. Emmanuel Probst joins Sima in this thought-provoking episode of Data Gurus.

Although the subject of today’s show is about marketing, it’s even more so about life and looking at consumers from an elemental level: looking at their needs, their perspectives, and what motivates them. It’s about pushing brands to think about these considerations first, over short-term metrics. This ultimately connects a respective brand to the consumer’s basic wants and needs.  

Listen in to this conversation where marketing and psychology intersect and prepare to have your thinking challenged.

Dr. Emmanuel Probst is the author of the widely-acclaimed book, Brand Hacks: Fulfilling the Human Quest for Meaning. He is also the Senior Vice President of Ipsos, focusing on Brand Health Tracking.

Consumer Curiosity

Understanding why people do what they do is the backbone of Dr. Probst’s career, and also what led him to brand health and writing his book.

He was intrigued about how we as a society decide what is good and what is not; what brands make sense and what brands don’t make sense; and why we purchase the products that we do.

Over six hundred billion dollars per year are spent on advertising to market to consumers, but half is wasted and brands are unclear on the impact of their own marketing dollars.

The reason for the waste is that the majority of advertising is targeted, tactical, and designed to push sales in the short term.  The intention may also be to create traffic, or support short-term goals for brands. This results in advertising that is often not sustainable, as it lacks depth or meaning to consumers.

Finding Meaning

Dr. Probst’s research suggests that people aren’t interested in buying more products or seeking more brands. They aren’t seeking more advertising. What they DO look for is engagement in activities that are meaningful to them. They want to find meaning. 

Once you understand what people find meaningful, then you can create brands that help fulfill these needs.

This is the mission of Dr. Probst’s book.

Connected, But Lonelier Than Ever

The more connected we are to technology, the more lonely consumers feel, Dr. Probst has discovered.

In a world of social media connectedness, this seems counter-intuitive. Technology can keep us in touch with our friends and family on the other side of the world, but conversely, that doesn’t necessarily help build community close to us. People are losing the ability to create connections in the real world. 

It is said that millennials have to educated on how to connect and socialize with people in real life, due to the early and constant exposure to technology that often can be a substitute for real-life relationships.

Social Media Influencers

A social media influencer is an individual who uses a variety of social media platforms to influence their audience by expressing their own opinions regarding specific brands, products, and celebrities.

They may be a blogger, product reviewer, industry expert, or a trusted source of information but their goal is to build relationships in order to impact others’ thinking.

The strength of a social media influencer is to reduce the social distance between them and the audience. Where celebrities are concerned, many of them have influencers to create content for them that make them seem more relatable and impactful but tend to engage with too many brands. 

The shortcoming is that you might like their work as a celebrity but you can’t closely relate to them due to alliances with brands that don’t align with your own personal values. In this sense, influencers can be misleading and deceptive to both their audience and their marketers, as they build the illusion that  they’re closer to their audience than they really are.

A Brand That “Gets” Consumers

Listen in as Dr. Probst expounds on one of the brands that understand what consumers want, and why!

He and Sima also chat about how “imperfect is perfect”, how people are yearning for more authenticity, and how certain brands are suffering from projecting an image that is not reflective of our desire for the genuine.


Sima loves to hear from her listeners with input, questions, suggestions and just to connect! You can find her at the links below!



Sima is passionate about data and loves to share, learn and help others that share that passion. If you love data as much as her, subscribe on iTunes and don’t forget to leave a rating and review!

Connect with Dr. Probst:

His Linkedin

His Instagram

His Website

Buy His Book HERE!

Brand Hacks: Fulfilling the Human Quest for Meaning by Dr. Emmanuel Probst