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10+ years

In his newly debuting book, “The Human Brand,” Chris Malone and Susan Fiske talk about how human beings developed the split-second ability to judge people on their intentions and capabilities. It was a matter of survival for our ancestors. Today they write, we still judge people based on “these same two categories of social perception, which are known as warmth and competence.”

When someone exhibits both qualities, trust develops. If warmth is lacking, suspicions and envy take over. If competence is not evident, we feel sympathetic. In the worst case, when someone is neither warm nor capable, there’s little chance for a budding relationship.

The research presented in this book goes beyond the human-to-human relationship to the human-to-brand relationship. We judge brands by their warmth and competence too. Those perceived to have both attributes are more likely to develop deep, enduring relationships with their customers.

Now that’s something to aspire to.