Living Brands: How Biology & Neuroscience Shape Consumer Behaviour & Brand Desirability

By Dr. Constantinos Pantidos

This is the title of my new book that reveals remarkable patterns underlying all consumer behaviour and brand choice. It is based on a pioneering research driven by Neurobiology and establishes the links between many disciplines that study consumer behaviour.

Successful brands are alive. They activate the fundamental motives that have helped people survive and thrive. By deciphering this source code of human behaviour, LIVING BRANDS allows for the creation of brands and concepts that mobilize the very forces of life and ignite buying behaviour.

The causes of our behavior are rooted in human dispositions that have helped us survive and thrive. To ensure that we never forget the importance of these life-affirming forces, nature has established an array of systems in our brain and body and made their satisfaction intrinsically gratifying. Our feelings reflect our neural experience. As abundant and varied as our emotions are, they all stem from 12 Fundamental Human Motives, which are triggered by equivalent systems and operations in our brain. Society and culture, far from denying our biological origins, tend to exaggerate them.

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Diagram 1: The Pathways of human behaviour, C. Pantidos, Living Brands: How Biology and Neuroscience Shape Consumer Behaviour and Brand Desirability, Lid Publishing, London, 2018, page 10.

LIVING BRANDS captures the foundations of our emotions, the Fundamental Human Motives at their deepest levels of deployment and puts forward THE WHEEL OF MOTIVES™, the most integrated model to date for shaping brand strategy.

Diagram 3: THE WHEEL OF MOTIVES™, C. Pantidos, Living Brands: How Biology and Neuroscience Shape Consumer Behaviour and Brand Desirability, Lid Publishing, London, 2018, page 391.

Leveraging THE WHEEL OF MOTIVES™ to create ideas for brand positioning, communication and creative development has the following advantages:

  1. Brands that satisfy some profound human motive in a unique way become larger than their category, larger than life.
  2. While trends can temporarily generate sales, human motives represent the most solid platform for business development. To be able to leverage trends brands must first get their fundamentals right.
  3. Motives go beyond segmentation and borders, demographics and cultures: the brand becomes personal at scale.
  4. The Brand communication becomes a natural continuation of the functional characteristics of the products or services: It is rooted in the psychological and neurophysiological interface.
  5. The Brand stays clearly and coherently within specific Neuro-biological pathways minimizing communication waste that dilutes the brand’s equity
  6. Each and every communication touchpoint attracts attention viscerally that breaks any clutter further increasing the efficiency of our communication budget.
  7. The brand narratives become absolutely distinctive and impossible to copy.
  8. Our decisions become as objectively scientific as possible.

The methodology has already been leveraged by such companies as Coca-Cola, Unilever, L’Oréal, Johnson-Johnson, Heineken and Philip Morris International.

Here is some advance praise for the book:

“Today we know that neurobiological reactions to external stimuli drive people’s preferences, actions and emotions or, in simple words, people’s behaviour. LIVING BRANDS leverages multidisciplinary scientific branches with the support of the top world research institutes, ultimately culminating into a wheel of motives. While individual preferences and trends can quickly evolve, human motives have deep roots and provide a longer, solid base for the establishment of corporate vision and strategies... it is a must read and explore approach.”

Dr. Paolo Arancio

Strategist, Innovator, Entrepreneur

Global Head Strategic Innovation Partnership @ Nestlé Skin Health

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“LIVING BRANDS has introduced, for the first time, an application of biology and neuroscience right into the heart of brand strategy and positioning, transcending beyond psychology to activate the mechanisms through which human emotions are induced. Packed full with examples of the application of this ground-breaking approach in as many as 20 product categories, LIVING BRANDS can assist marketers in generating breakthrough ideas for brand positioning and creative development that activate the inherent concepts in our brains, impacting the way emotions and habits are developed.”

Jit Papneja

Global Insights & Analytics Leader,

multiple Fortune 100 CPG Companies

“LIVING BRANDS is, simultaneously, deeply unsettling and deeply reassuring. The book effectively breaks established models on brand thinking. By rooting human behaviour in the more predictable neurological reaction, Constantinos Pantidos unshackles brands from the tyranny of narrow psychographic segments and salami-sliced positioning platforms. Must read for anyone invested in creating brands.”

Tanushree Mainrai

Brand & Innovation Head, Coffee Category, Unilever

“In his book LIVING BRANDS, C. Pantidos, is the first to bring together a plethora of disciplines condensing them into a comprehensive new way of marketing. His book should be of interest to any marketer, wanting to break through today’s clutter.”

Mario Weber

Global Innovation Manager, The Heineken Company

“LIVING BRANDS will help us to understand how to capture the foundations of our deepest emotions. Additionally, we will learn how a better perception of the various mechanisms in action beyond each human decision, could improve our efficiency as well as our ability to create unmatched value for people.”

Christophe P. Thiange

Worldwide Associate Brand Director Xolair at Novartis

“The New Contract Theory and the New Theory of the Firm is a novel research programme in Economics that has reached now general equilibrium status and has revolutionised the way economists, management theorists and social scientists overall think about the decision mechanisms that govern the allocative and distributional aspects of a free enterprise economic system.

At the same time (and as a related sub-system to this new research “paradigm”), the current advances in Experimental and Behavioural Economics have redefined the field of economic theory and policy.  They point towards a new bounded rationality world of economising units.

Constantinos Pantidos' work can be seen as a path-breaking extension of the above research trend that competently explores behavioural aspects inside the area of Marketing.

His LIVING BRANDS is a fabulous attempt, written with clarity, attention to detail and inspiration that tries to associate any successful commercial branding with behavioural traits the consumers possess.  These traits are rooted in the psychological and neurophysiological interface creating strong predispositions that guide preferences.

Pantidos is unveiling an important sequence of mechanisms that underdetermine choice and firm practice.  Successful strategy and tactics will stand to gain a lot if they actively engage Pantidos results and intuitions when reforming a firm’s product design and marketing.

The book offers Industrial Organisation overall a new challenging mode of analysis of  Advertising, Sales, Strategy and Marketing seeing as strongly inter-connected activities to the consumer's psychological interface.  Its intriguing nature, its powerful message and its well-organised structure, make it a very interesting and compelling reading.”

George Bitsakakis

Official Fellow & Director of Studies in Economics, St Benet’s Hall, Oxford University

“LIVING BRANDS is a practical and thought provoking book which introduces a unique blend of multidisciplinary diagnostics into how the human brain decodes the world around us, and how we can use this understanding for making our marketing mixes even more efficient.”

Kornel Muller,

Consumer & Market Insights Director, Unilever Europe


“Constantinos helps define brands and understand categories using for the first time biology and affective neuroscience at a holistic and strategic level. His innovative approach leads to deeper, richer, highly applicable results. What may appear as an over saturated competitive market, suddenly reveals new opportunities of underestimated meaning territories at the heart of categories and brands. An explorer by nature, Constantinos will not stop until he gets at the essence of a brand and matches it with category opportunities in unexpected, yet profound ways reflecting pan-cultural mental associations.”

Angeliki Maragkou,

Strategic Initiatives Lead, Global Consumer and Marketing Excellence at Bayer

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