I love brands and have been managing them and studying them for 25 years, as a brand manager and as an academic researcher and teacher. My research program focuses on brand management and customer relationship management and centers on themes relating to the meaning of brands in contemporary consumer culture. My research attempts to balance two goals often perceived to be at odds with one another — 1.) to serve businesses in their search to improve their marketing effectiveness by providing insight into how to manage their brands as meaning-based assets, and 2.) to serve consumers by providing insight into the critical role brands and their meaning play in our lives as individuals, in our relationships with others, and in the evolution of our culture.