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Local Author Examines Customer, Company Relationship

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - As the holiday shopping season begins, there's a new perspective on the relationship each of us has with companies.

Corporations are people, according to the Supreme Court, and while that offends many people, there's reason to believe we've been treating them that way personally all along.

Technology and business have changed ,but people's brains have not. That's one of the bedrock points of "The Human Brand: How We Relate to People, Products and Companies."

Co-author Chris Malone, a Newtown Square-based business consultant, traces our dealings with today's brands back to the ancient need to size up potential allies and enemies on sight:

"The way we are wired is that our brain is processing exactly the same," he tells KYW Newsradio. " People were the first brands and faces were the first logos, and all this branded trade and commerce that we've engaged in has simply been an adaptation of the way that we perceive one another."

Listen to John's full interview with Chris Malone (trt: 12:45)...

The Human Brand

Malone says technology has allowed some companies, like Zappos, to create a more personal buying experience where price is not the entire bottom line, but customer satisfaction and loyalty are encouraged.  He says holiday season doorbusters are a dead end:

"You can only get so far with price.  It's a little like the difference between sex and love.  Sex you can buy.  Love, not so much, and so if people are only coming in to cherry-pick those low priced items, you know, if your expectation was they're going to love you and buy everything else at full price, the evidence doesn't suggest that actually happens."

But a connection -- a bond with a customer -- can make price less important.

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