Building Brands that Transform People and the World: Insights from Emanuel Probst

In a recent episode of the Entropik Podcast, Stefka Mihaylova interviewed Emanuel Probst, a global lead brand strategist and bestselling author, about the art and science of brand transformation.

Shireen Noushad
July 9, 2023
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In a recent episode of the Entropik Podcast, Stefka Mihaylova interviewed Emanuel Probst, a global lead brand strategist and bestselling author, about the art and science of brand transformation. Probst shared his insights on how brands can evolve from simply selling products to genuinely changing people's lives and making a positive impact on the world. This article explores the key takeaways from their conversation, highlighting the importance of brand purpose, understanding consumer behavior, innovative measurement techniques, and the role of ethnography research in brand development.

Probst emphasized the significance of brands that go beyond selling products and aim to transform consumers and the world. One example he discussed was Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty," which encourages people to embrace their natural beauty and challenges the unrealistic beauty standards perpetuated by social media. Probst highlighted the importance of authenticity and how Dove's message of self-acceptance resonates with consumers on a deeper level.  


Consumer-Centricity and Audience Segmentation

Probst stressed the relevance of audience segmentation in today's marketing landscape. While demographics still play a role, he emphasized the need to consider psychographics, values, beliefs, and the moment of truth or need when consumers engage with products. Understanding these factors enables brands to tailor their marketing efforts and support consumers' transformations effectively.

Have a look: From Trial to Triumph: Harnessing the Potential of Pilot Surveys in Research

Measuring and Amplifying the Connection Between Brands and Consumers

Probst discussed the evolution of advertising performance measurement. He highlighted the shift from focusing solely on tactical performance to understanding the cumulative effect of different media channels and the sequencing of campaigns. Strategic elements such as brand equity, awareness, and preference must also be considered in measuring brand effectiveness, as successful brands rely on a strong brand strategy, not just performance advertising.

Insights into Consumer Behavior for Effective Brand Strategy

Probst, drawing from his experience as a consumer psychologist, shared insights into consumer behavior that brands should consider. He emphasized that most consumers don't care about most brands and that brands need to understand consumers' quest for meaning. By starting from the standpoint of the consumer and their desired transformation, brands can build meaningful and satisfying experiences that resonate with people.

The Role of Predictive Analytics and Ethnography Research

Probst discussed the importance of predictive analytics in understanding consumer behavior and anticipating their needs based on demographics, psychographics, and moments of truth. He also highlighted the value of ethnography research, particularly in the context of people spending more time at home. Understanding how consumers use products in their daily lives through ethnographic research provides valuable insights for brands to improve their offerings.

Have a look: Beyond 5 Stars: Rating Scales for Modern Consumers


The Role of Multi-Touch Attribution and Predictive Analytics  

Multi-touch attribution and predictive analytics are methods that can potentially help marketers understand the consumer's journey and their quest for self-discovery. Multi-touch attribution aims to attribute the success of a campaign to various touchpoints, but its implementation can be challenging due to the fragmentation in the media landscape. Predictive analytics, on the other hand, focuses on anticipating consumer behavior based on demographics, psychographics, and moments of truth. While multi-touch attribution may be difficult to implement and act upon, predictive analytics holds promise in understanding and impacting consumer behavior.

Leveraging New Methods for Testing and Understanding Consumer Quests

When testing new campaigns like Belvedere vodka, traditional testing methods may need augmentation with new emotional measures and insights from System 1 thinking. Live creative testing can help understand how a creative performs in the market and optimize its deployment. Additionally, integrating disparate data sets, such as social media listening, news monitoring, and academic publications, can provide a more comprehensive understanding of consumer behavior. The choice of data sources depends on the brand's industry and target market.

Have a look: The Power of In-Home Product Testing: Unleashing the Voice of the Consumer

Exploring Technological Tools for Testing New Concepts

Eye tracking, facial coding, and attention measurement are gaining popularity as metrics in the industry. These behavioral measurement methods, combined with attitudes and behavioral analytics, can bridge the gap between what people say and how they actually behave. While these methods hold promise for testing new concepts, the idea of converting them into a currency for exchange among vendors may be a distant dream. Nonetheless, leveraging these measurements to optimize media investments remains highly relevant.


Success Stories in Data Onboarding and Activation

Pernod Ricard, a client of Ipsos, provides a success story that demonstrates the impact of data onboarding, integration, and activation. By considering moments of conviviality—when, why, and with whom people consume alcohol—Pernod Ricard optimizes its brands' performance. Instead of solely focusing on the competitive set, the goal is to establish a brand's ownership over specific moments, aligning the product with the occasion and consumer needs.

The Importance of Ethnography Research in Understanding Consumer Behavior

In the current context, ethnography research, particularly when conducted at participants' homes, has gained even more significance. With people spending more time at home, their domestic environments have become vital hubs of their lives. Ethnography research helps visualize and understand how consumers interact with products within their specific contexts. Procter & Gamble's emphasis on ethnographic research, particularly in Asia, has yielded valuable insights and contributed to their success in understanding consumer behaviors and needs.


Uncovering Insights Through Ethnography Research

Procter & Gamble's commitment to ethnographic research has uncovered valuable insights that have brought significant value to the brand. By observing and understanding how consumers use their products in real-life settings, Procter & Gamble has gained granular insights that go beyond traditional market research methods. This approach has enabled them to create innovative solutions, such as designing bottles that can be conveniently positioned on sinks, based on observing consumer behaviors and needs in their homes.


Uncovering Brand Purpose and Making a Positive Impact

Brand purpose has become a buzzword in the marketing community, and Probst shared his perspective on its importance. He emphasized that brands must not only claim a purpose but also demonstrate it authentically and realistically. Aligning purpose with what a brand can deliver and showcasing the impact it has on people's lives is crucial for establishing meaningful connections.


Emanuel Probst's insights offer valuable guidance for brands seeking to make a transformational impact on consumers and the world. By embracing consumer-centricity, understanding behavior, adopting innovative measurement techniques, and conducting ethnography research, brands can create meaningful experiences that resonate with their audience. The key lies in aligning brand purpose with consumer needs and aspirations, ultimately fostering positive change and empowering individuals on their journey to self-discovery and transformation.

Listen to the podcast for more!

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Author Bio

Shireen Noushad
Shireen adores writing and currently, she’s all about making B2B content fun, engaging, and 100% non-boring. She's intrigued by the scope of AI(not scared, yet), and how it helps advance operations on all fronts across industries. On a typical day, she scours the internet for anything and everything AI-related, and goes on a loop of writing and re-writing cause it’s just not perfect.

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