Davide Scialpi interviews Constantinos Pantidos – Author of “Living Brands”

Dear B&F’ers, welcome back to our blog.

Today, here we are to have a conversation with Constantinos Pantidos, the author of Living Brands. He will be the special guest author of the Books & Friends workshop series taking place in Rome on the 9th of November at Rome Business School.

So, we have decided to have an interview with him and get more about his professional life and expertise.

Davide Scialpi: So, first of all, Constantinos, we thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for your precious time and availability.

We have appreciated a lot and it is a honor and a pleasure to have you here into our blog for a quick and interesting chat about you and about the consumer brand marketing world.  

We would like to know more about you as a marketing professional Which means getting more about your career path, achievements and experience in the field of Marketing, and last but not least the reason why you have decided to write your book “Living Brands”

Constantinos Pantidos:

Before founding the strategic brand consultancy BRAND AVIATORS in 2007 I worked as a marketing professional with companies such as Chanel, Nestlé, Gillette and Procter and Gamble. The best Brands in the world used psychology to define their brand strategy, positioning, consumer proposition, personality, values etc. However, I knew that emotions come from neural activity and have a biological basis. Marketing had not incorporated the advances of modern sciences such as neurobiology and cognitive linguistics at a holistic, strategic level. So I began to study intensively the foundations of emotions in neuroscience and to establish the links between many sciences that study consumer behaviour. I also teach marketing strategy, consumer behaviour, and market research at postgraduate courses.

I consider my greatest achievement to be the creation of THE WHEEL OF MOTIVES that really establishes the pathways of human behaviour, allowing for the generation of seminal ideas for brand positioning, communication and creative development. As the diagram of THE WHEEL OF MOTIVES shows, our whole civilization, social institutions, belief systems, various cultures, great human values and the way we think and act at every moment are all products of the 12 Fundamental Human Motives.

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

I decided to write Living Brands because I felt this knowledge was too important to be kept a commercial secret. This knowledge should be shared because it touches our very nature and could revolutionize marketing, reconnecting brands with consumers at a deeper human level. “It was so important to recognize that communication is so much more than we have typically accounted for” as one reader said.

Davide Scialpi: What’s target audience of this book?

Constantinos Pantidos:

The core audience for Living Brands are marketing people, consumer insight managers, and communication people.

Davide Scialpi: Cool..now, let’s get straight to the point. Let’s talk about Living Brands. Behind your book there is an intensive and hard research work. The methodology and frameworks you have created and developed are very useful and helpful for the Consumer Brand marketing managers decisions. Tell us a little bit more about it:

Constantinos Pantidos:

As emotions have survival value and many layers of deployment, any comprehensive tool for understanding consumer motivation has to have an evolutionary foundation and combine various disciplines. So the research was a continuous backwards and forwards between the disciplines that studied consumer behaviour. I applied this multidisciplinary approach to study 70 universal categories of goods and services. All these major scientific disciplines and approaches that study human behaviour for various ends have, in many cases, developed corresponding approaches, routes and tools. Every science and approach provides its own explanations for the same events, albeit reaching them via different routes. All disciplines and approaches pointto the same few fundamental human motives which re-emerge in category after category of products and services. Deciphering the reasons goods attract us, what we reach is the architecture of our mind.

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

Our Fundamental Human Motives are like bare patterns in any language. An average brand may gain some transitory attractiveness through intuition, improvisation or luck. Living Brands infuse the patterns, fertilizing the basic forms, in a very particular way, according to their own genetic codes.

Davide Scialpi: Emotions come too late in the sequence of mechanisms that underdetermine behaviour and brand choice. To effectively influence them, we need to go back to the way they arise in biology and neural activity of the brain.

Constantinos Pantidos:

All emotions are results of the 12 Fundamental Human Motives that can be studied more objectively, generating unprecedented depth, effectiveness, predictability and clarity for our strategy.

Davide Scialpi: Such an amazing quote, Constantinos. I will for certain re-use that. Now, let’s help the marketing books readers. In your opinion, what are the must-read marketing books? What’s your favorite one?

Constantinos Pantidos:

David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on advertising, Vintage, 1985

Bernd Kreutz & Hatje Cantz, The art of Branding, Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2003

And my favourite one: Motivation in Advertising, Motives that make people buy, by Pierre Martineau, McGraw-Hill Paperback, 1971

Davide Scialpi: Let’s get back to Constantinos as a professional. What’s your favorite managerial quote?

Constantinos Pantidos:

My favourite managerial quote comes from a writer and pioneering aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry who said: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea”.

Davide Scialpi: How to succeed in the Marketing world?In the marketing field, What’s the approach to take in order become a great professional?.

Constantinos Pantidos:

To succeed in the marketing world marketers need to give meaning to people. They have to stop just thinking about products and services because consumers can have access to many different alternative sources of them. Leave your competitors to sell products and services and focus on building brands with deep human values.

Today, too much time is spent chasing fleeting trends. My message to marketers who want to be highly successful is to go back to basics. I meet with a lot of marketers who spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of euros on all types of research but when I ask them what their brand stands for, they can only reply in vague terms. In my opinion, before anything else, the brand must have a solid inner architecture deeply rooted in human fundamentals. Good marketing has always been and will always be close to human nature. Once we capture the DNA of the brand, we should never betray it. The human brain is trained to spot and penalize discrepancies and inconsistencies.

Marketing is not just one science or art. As we just said, to create extraordinary brands we need to touch human nature. This is not possible by just leveraging the best techniques in marketing, the latest fads and technology platforms. To have an extraordinary career in marketing one has to have knowledge of many fields, and be exposed to the work of the greatest philosophers, artists and scholars of human nature.

Davide Scialpi: Now, let’s fly high and end our pleasant conversation.  In your opinion, what’s the future of Marketing? or what’s the next big thing about it?

Constantinos Pantidos:

The future of marketing is in neurobiology. The leading brands of the future will be those whose propositions come closest to the inherent concepts of our mind. Our fundamental human motives will be captured more and more precisely in the future. It is the inevitable journey of humanity to understanding itself and securing its future. 


brilliant, Constantinos! It’s a been a pleasure to talk with you. Many thanks for sharing with us great pieces of advice and your suggestions.

We’ll see you and meet you soon in Rome at Rome Business School on the 9th of November. We will present your book “Living Brands” to the Italiand industry of Brand Marketing. Again, thanks!!!…



Living Brands is available on Amazon here. Buy now!

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