Stealing Share's Analysis and advice

Brand Anthropology

March 16, 2023

Brand Anthropology. REAL branding.
Our strategists unlock consumer behavior influencers through brand anthropology. It is an artificial enterprise to evaluate brand and marketing without looking into a broader spectrum of human behavior. Without the science of brand anthropology, which is the science of branding, most marketing research studies are deeply flawed.

brand anthropologyThey attempt to understand a purchase behavior or brand preference in an artificial context with limited vision and success.

Call us. We can help better define your brand’s users and cohorts. Without taking into account brand anthropology is akin to placing an isolated human population that never heard of an elephant in a dark room.

Once in the dark room, armed with only a flashlight and asked to describe what they find produces an odd mix of descriptors. Some describe a large four-legged animal with a tail on both ends.

Interesting information, but it is not very valuable or accurate. For this reason, brand and marketing strategies are more closely aligned with brand anthropology than traditional marketing science.

The process means influencing human behavior, creating consumer preference and brand loyalty, and growing market share.

To do that, you must better understand the human condition and see it in the context of a broader palette than just the scope of your category.

We call it brand anthropology.

Do you want to win?

So, to influence preference and increase market share, you must have a sharper understanding of your target audiences. Understanding their usage and attitudes related to your product, service, or category is not enough.

Unless you talk to other rebranding companies and believe it’s OK to understand an elephant as an animal with a tail at both ends.

You need to know customers in the broader context of their lives.

What they believe to be true about their experiences, values, aspirations, and goals. Your brand needs to be persuasive and not static.

To that end, we created persuasive branding. As a result, you need to see the beliefs that guide their lives and direct their purchase decisions.

For the science of branding, we developed a model for looking for just that. It is a predictive model of brand anthropology. You can read about it — behavioral modeling in detail here.

Growing market share demands more than simple branding.
Traditional brand development has become universal in marketing circles today. It requires the acute vision of an anthropologist.

What is brand anthropology?

Our strategists act as brand anthropologists. Brand anthropology is the science of studying brands in context. It looks at the brand not as a thing but as an emotional idea that customers embrace.

They embrace it because they believe it reinforces their self-identity. It looks at the brand’s meaning and messages through the prism of the prospect.

brand anthropologyIn simplistic terms, this means the brand anthropologist is seeking the WHY your brand exists and not the WHAT it creates.

When the brand says why you are here, everything you create and do reinforces that belief. As a result, they are more powerful promises.

They feel more grounded because they are rooted in a unifying belief system. Our marketing experts use this science to make your brand strategy, tactics, and executions persuasive and influential in the market.

Customer beliefs about themselves and the world dictate how they buy what they buy. Beliefs are different for every target audience because of context.

As a result, our strategists focus on specific targets based on deep expertise in diverse target groups. Our teams specialize in particular groups that directly influence your brand’s equity.

Brand anthropology is so much more; however, the focus is always on developing strategy and messaging. It is the science of branding. The stuff that changes behavior and increases market share. Here are just a few of our focused areas of brand/consumer expertise:

Baby Boomers

Born between 1946 -1964 (71.6 Million in the US), They are still the largest user of what we might call traditional media. But they have migrated to new media in the last five years.

While aging out, they have the largest expendable income. Often marketers misrepresent this group. That is because when viewing age, we all revert to our perspective at the age of 18.

These folks grew up in the 60s.
Remembering that this group includes all the Rolling Stones, the surviving Beatles, and Stills, Nash, and Young (we lost Crosby) might be helpful.

Gen X

(Born between 1965-1980) 65.2 Million in the US Newly embraced technology to their parents is old school to this group. Gen Xers have developed a set of values and perspectives that reflect their experiences and the world they grew up in.

Self-reliance and pragmatism are central tenets of Gen X’s belief systems. Growing up during economic uncertainty, they learned to navigate challenges independently and value practicality.

This generation tends to approach problems with a “do-it-yourself” mentality, often prioritizing financial stability and personal responsibility.

Gen Xers also exhibit a strong sense of resilience and adaptability. Witnessing significant technological advancements and societal shifts, they learned to embrace change and find ways to succeed in evolving environments.

This adaptability has influenced their skepticism towards institutions and a preference for finding their paths.

Work-life balance is a prominent value among Gen X’s belief systems. Having observed their Baby Boomer predecessors’ strong work ethic, Gen Xers strive to balance their professional and personal lives.

They prioritize time with family and hobbies, seeking fulfillment beyond their careers.

Cultural diversity is another crucial aspect of Gen X’s belief systems. They came of age during increasing multiculturalism and were exposed to diverse perspectives through the media.

This exposure has led them to value inclusivity and accept different backgrounds and lifestyles.

Gen Xers also maintain a certain nostalgia for pre-digital times. While they have embraced technology, they experienced childhoods without constant connectivity.

This has led to a unique perspective on technology, appreciating its benefits while sometimes longing for the simplicity of the past.

In conclusion, Generation X’s belief systems are characterized by self-reliance, pragmatism, adaptability, work-life balance, and a commitment to diversity.

These values have been forged through their experiences in a rapidly changing world and continue to influence their choices, behaviors, and interactions in today’s society. 

Millennials (Gen-Y)

Brand anthropology takes root here as well. (Born between 1981-1996). 72.1 Million in the US. Some anthropologists split them into two segments. GenY.1 and GenY.2.

This is useful behaviorally because they share the context of birth but are in different life phases. This often baffling group embraces cultural precepts distinctly different than other generations.

The impact of technology has given them a sense of control that no other generation possesses.

Therefore, they approach purchase decisions and arrive at conclusions differently from all other groups, resulting in specific brand anthropology development necessities to target this group.

brand anthropologyMillennials have emerged as a distinctive force with beliefs that set them apart from their predecessors. Shaped by a rapidly changing world, Millennials hold diverse values and perspectives that influence their behavior, preferences, and interactions.

One notable aspect of Millennial beliefs is their emphasis on individuality and authenticity. Having grown up amidst the rise of technology and social media, Millennials value personal expression and are more likely to prioritize authenticity over conformity.

They seek meaningful experiences and are drawn to brands and causes that align with their values and allow them to impact the world positively.

Social consciousness is a defining trait of Millennial beliefs. This generation is deeply concerned about social and environmental issues, advocating for equality, sustainability, and social justice.

They are more inclined to support brands committed to these causes and are more likely to engage in activism and volunteer work.

Financial stability and work-life balance are significant concerns for Millennials. Having witnessed economic downturns and changing employment dynamics, they tend to value experiences over material possessions and prioritize jobs that offer flexibility and a sense of purpose.

The traditional “9-to-5” work model often doesn’t resonate with them, as they seek opportunities for remote work and better integration of their personal and professional lives.

Millennials also exhibit a strong inclination towards continuous learning and self-improvement.

They are avid information consumers and are more likely to pursue further education, both formally and informally, to enhance their skills and knowledge. The accessibility of online resources and the gig economy have facilitated their pursuit of diverse career paths and side hustles.

Technology is an integral part of Millennial life, shaping not only their beliefs but also their behaviors. They are early adopters of new technologies and platforms, contributing to the rapid evolution of digital communication and consumption.

This tech-savviness has led to changes in how they approach everything from social interactions to shopping and entertainment.

Contrary to stereotypes, Millennials do value in-person interactions and authentic relationships.

Despite their reliance on digital communication, they place a premium on building meaningful connections and prioritize experiences that allow them to bond with others.

In conclusion, Millennials are a generation defined by unique beliefs that reflect their experiences, values, and aspirations. Their emphasis on authenticity, social consciousness, work-life balance, continuous learning, and technology shapes their interactions with the world around them.

As this generation continues to drive societal and cultural changes, their beliefs will undoubtedly influence the trajectory of industries, policies, and norms in the years to come.


Generation Z, commonly called Gen Z, encompasses individuals born roughly between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s.

Shaped by a rapidly changing world and the advent of technology, Gen Z exhibits a unique set of belief systems that set them apart from previous generations.

One defining characteristic of Gen Z’s belief systems is their emphasis on diversity and inclusivity. Having grown up in an era of increased awareness of social issues, Gen Z is passionate about equality and social justice.
They value and celebrate diversity across race, gender, sexual orientation, and other identities, and they are more likely to engage in activism and support causes that promote inclusivity.
A strong sense of individuality and self-expression is another hallmark of Gen Z’s beliefs. Fueled by social media and digital platforms, they prioritize authenticity and personal identity.
Gen Z is less likely to conform to traditional norms and are more inclined to express themselves openly, often using platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube to share their unique perspectives and creativity.
Environmental consciousness is a significant aspect of Gen Z’s belief systems. Growing up in an era of climate change awareness, they are deeply concerned about the environment and are advocates for sustainable practices. Gen Z is more likely to support eco-friendly brands and engage in behaviors that reduce their ecological footprint.
Unlike previous generations, Gen Z places a premium on mental health and well-being. They recognize the importance of self-care and are more open about discussing mental health challenges.
This generation is more likely to seek resources and support to maintain their emotional and mental wellness.
Technology is an integral part of Gen Z’s belief systems. Having grown up with smartphones and the internet, they are digital natives who rely on technology for communication, education, and entertainment.
This tech-savviness has led them to embrace innovative approaches to problem-solving and stay updated with the latest trends.
In conclusion, Gen Z’s belief systems reflect their commitment to inclusivity, individuality, environmental sustainability, mental health awareness, and technological integration.
As they continue to come of age and shape the world around them, these beliefs will play a pivotal role in influencing societal norms, consumer behavior, and cultural values. 
Female influencers and decision-makers

Understanding and characterizing the female decision-maker sets Stealing Share apart. We have mapped the perceptive structure of this influential audience and have found ways to create brand preference via messaging in everything from bottled water to real estate.

This group defies stereotypical categorization and approaches consensus from a distinctly right-brain perspective. This group has firmly held concerns, often remaining consistent despite cultural changes.

Targeting female consumers is a common goal, but it is typically misled by the inside-out marketing strategy that is so rampant in the marketplace.

Male influencers and decision-makers

Contrary to popular thought, the male consumer has changed his preceptive bundling more than his female counterpart.

The preceptive modeling for male decision-makers is as unique as that of the female model. Our experience with this audience runs from beers to automobiles to computers.

The male consumer will typically change his perceptive structure, so this group is often difficult to narrow the focus.

It requires expertise in cultural currents and understanding values, consumer behavior over time, and how the male market has changed over the years.

Maturing populations

The mature market is complicated because it overlaps the perceptive models of male, female, and baby boomers.

However, the issues facing them and the precepts that guide their decisions change suddenly, and the sensitivity to messaging and promises also transforms. Our experience with this group runs from executive firms to healthcare.

Cultural trendsetters

Understanding cultural trendsetters provides the perceptive foundation for cultural change.

More than early adopters, these consumers represent uncharted trends and direction and provide early access to cultural currents that lead and influence others. Our experience with this group runs from financial institutions to health spas.