~ Some chocolate lovers hide secret "candy stashes" around their houses?

~ Many women regard taking a bath as a "sacred" ritual?

~ In parts of New Guinea, tribesmen put Chivas Regal wrappers on their drums and wear Pentel pens instead of nosebones?

~ More than 100 women make a living impersonating Marilyn Monroe?

~ A car stereo manufacturer used the ad copy, "My car is my holy temple, my love shack...?"

~ A phaser from Star Trek is encased behind glass at The Smithsonian?

People buy goods because of what they mean, not because of what they do. The product imagery surrounding us, from Nike to Gucci, Ford to BMW, MTV Europe to Vogue, forms "consumption communities" that define who we are -- and who we want to be. Indeed, the strategic goal of many firms is not to build market share -- it is to build share of mind. To develop a "brand personality" that will successfully place their product in these communities, businesspeople need to understand what products really mean to everyday people.

Dr. Michael Solomon is a leading marketing researcher and speaker who demonstrates that the "everyday" world of consumption is more fascinating and complex than it seems. He has been at the forefront of strategic thinking that emphasizes the importance of understanding how products and services are actually experienced by the people who buy them. His presentations can help organizations open up to new ideas, as he explains how symbols, rituals, and "magical" beliefs associated with phenomena from bathing to blue jeans have been successfully used around the world in marketing communications and positioning strategies.

Dr. Solomon was recently recognized as one of the fifteen most widely-cited scholars in the academic behavioral sciences/fashion literature. He received the Cutty Sark Men's Fashion Award for his research on the psychological aspects of clothing. His best-selling textbooks, Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being, and Marketing: Real People, Real Choices, are both published by Prentice Hall (a division of Simon & Schuster) and are used in universities around the world.

Dr. Solomon's feature articles have appeared in Psychology Today, Gentleman's Quarterly, and Savvy. He has been quoted in numerous national magazines and newspapers, including Allure, Elle, Glamour, Mademoiselle, Mirabella, Newsweek, The New York Times, Self, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. He has been a guest on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, Channel One, Inside Edition, Newsweek on the Air, and National Public Radio. Dr. Solomon has provided input as an advisor and an expert witness to many organizations on issues related to consumer behavior, services marketing, retailing, and advertising, including such companies as Levi Strauss, United Airlines, and Prudential Securities. He has given presentations on consumer behavior and marketing issues to many trade associations, manufacturers, and advertising agencies.

Dr. Solomon is Human Sciences Professor of Consumer Behavior in The School of Human Sciences at Auburn University. Prior to joining Auburn in 1995, he was Chairman of the Department of Marketing in the School of Business at Rutgers University. He received B.A. degrees in Psychology and Sociology at Brandeis University, and his Ph.D. at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He currently lives in Auburn, Alabama with his wife Gail, their three children, and a large golden retriever.

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