In today's guest blog, Rob Scalea, North American CEO of the Brand Union, discusses the relationship between branding and leadership.  This is the first in a series of guest blogs from top-level leaders.

The strongest and best brands are in the business of not just discovering their customers’ dreams, but creating them. From Tiffany & Company to Nike, successful marketers represent the kind of authenticity and quality that turns a classic-cut diamond into a bride’s hope and sports training into a boy’s childhood fantasy. It takes a deep understanding of dreams by marketers to use them in a way that resonates with consumers and motivates them to take action.
Aspirational dreams, as well as conscious, subconscious, and even unconscious thought relate to a person’s desires and attempts to reconcile conflict. Dreams allow each of us to put the pieces of life together. They are a self-conceived roadmap for the journeys we undertake. Recognizing this, marketers have long been trying to understand their role in fashioning a dream that sells and endures. Those that have succeeded have been able to combine just the right balance of emotional appeal and personalization needed to connect with a consumer’s subconscious.
Getting to the right formula demands a deeper understanding of how the human psyche works and the notion that there are certain components that remain stable throughout the process. These components correlate with Maslow’s hierarchy of need for esteem: self-confidence, achievement, respect of/by others. How we demonstrate these attributes to the world (and the products and services we choose to represent them) may change, but these characteristics are fundamental to human nature. And fundamental to a marketer's ability to satisfy these consumer needs, and succeed, is strong leadership.

Leadership requires understanding, anticipating, and delivering the products, services, quality level, and ‘total experience’ that impress customers, and creates an emotional bond.  Successful leaders (instinctually or otherwise) know this. The key is to probe on underlying psychologies that fundamentally motivate people to action, by employing new and more innovative research methodologies that tap into how people think so that we are better able to interpret what they desire and what will drive action.

There has never been a time in business history when an understanding of psychology and delivering on an understanding of people’s desires, attitudes, and behavior has been more important to marketing success. It is not about being soothsayers, but about mixing the art and emotion of human nature with the science that drives results. As business leaders learn to link the two, they will find themselves as part of an elite class of inspirational individuals who can create dreams and make them a reality.

By Rob Scalea, CEO, The Americas – The Brand Union (

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