S2E10: Lawrence Williams - Consumer Behavior and The Pursuit of Meaning

Season 2 | Episode 10
27m | Jan 11, 2023

What's meaningful to one person may not be meaningful to the next. But one this is for sure, we as humans search for meaning through consumption, whatever that “meaning” may be.

Lawrence Williams is an associate professor of Marketing at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Boulder. In his research, Dr. Williams examines the subtle influence of environmental cues on consumer behavior, the impact of psychological distance on consumers’ emotional judgments, and the mechanisms of self-regulation and self-control. 

In this episode, Lawrence discusses the importance of self-expression, intrinsic and extrinsic rewards of consumption, and where purpose-driven branding & products fall into the mix.


On using behavior to guide a strategy

[00:23:32] It's very easy, especially in modern world where we are incentivized to express our emotions and our opinions almost daily, nonstop, through social media and all of that stuff. That's amplified. It's really easy to talk about what you value. But when it's less about signaling and more about active choices, you have to look at people's behavior.

Intrinsic vs. extrinsic

[00:02:46] When we talk about intrinsic versus extrinsic, intrinsic is something that's coming from the inside, and extrinsic is something that's out there in the world. We tend to talk about those in terms of our motivation. What's driving us to pursue a certain thing, behave in a certain way, go a certain place, buy a certain thing? And sometimes, those motivations are coming from within us. 

What are people willing to give up in order to get meaning?

[00:09:46] When it came to meaningful experiences when it came to meaningful pursuits, people were willing to pay less was very interesting, but it gave us some insight into what they're thinking about. And, for us, when people are thinking about pursuing meaning, you have an array of free things that come to mind.


Faculty Profile at Leeds School of Business

Lawrence Williams’ LinkedIn Profile

Lawrence Williams on Google Scholar

Audio Player Image
Leeds Business Insights