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About Martin

True story. When he was a kid growing up in Denmark, young Martin had but one thought in his life: Lego. He hand-built and slept on a Lego bed. The family garden became his very own Legoland creation, attracting visitors from near and afar (including the lawyers from Lego).

Then, still a child, Lego installed Lindstrom onto their advisory board. And then, of all the children in the world – they gave him the very first green brick in the collection.

You're guessing this is what got Martin started in the crazy world of branding, marketing and all things advertising. And you'd be right.

Blame it all on Lego.

Fast forward some three decades later...

Consumer Advocate Lindstrom emerges from marketing and branding jungle; he has a fresh perspective. Times have changed and a new, more enlightened, more respectful way of marketing to consumers needs to be addressed. The challenge is clear. Consumers now dictate to brands how they want to be spoken to. The king is dead. Long live the king.

In particular is the thorny issue of consumer manipulation. Most know it's going on, this is nothing new. What is new, though, is the voice that is prepared to speak out and challenge this marketing status quo. Brandwashed, his latest bestseller, is a full-frontal exposé of the wanton trickery employed by many conglomerates, iconic brands included, to squeeze dollars out of their loyal customers.

Fan of the consumer

Martin has the unusual role of representing both consumers – and brands. This relates back to life mission, which has been to bridge the gap between brands and the consumer. At the age of 11 he was conducting customer service in his mom’s cosmetic business. At the age of 12 he opened his own advertising agency and at the age of 13, he worked with LEGO to innovating new concept ideas for ... well … his own target group.

Today, despite the many social media bridges to the consumer, Martin feels the corporate world is only interacting with consumers on a superficial level. Martin is a Fan of the Consumer because to him, it’s the consumer who holds the key to every brand. He believes that it’s only by getting involved with the consumer – in their homes, their lives and their daily routine, that you get to know what the consumer wants and needs. And it’s often the consumer who can tell you what your brand needs to do innovate, grow and deliver in your markets.

Whether its for his own research, or for consulting or change leadership, you’ll find that few have spent as many years living, shopping, partying and dreaming with consumers, in as many different countries, across as many religions and cultures as Martin.

Found out about Martin's consultations

10 Ethical Rules

New ethical guidelines for companies operating in the age of social media

There are two different ways to brandwash the consumer – you can choose the open, honest approach, or you can take the more devious path. The choice is yours. Remember, regardless of what you do, the consumer will ultimately discover the truth.

  1. Don't do to kids what you wouldn't do to your own. By extension, don't do to consumers what you wouldn't do to your friends and family.
  2. Secure an 'ethical' sign-off from your target group each time a campaign, a new product or a service is about to be launched in the market. Develop your own independent consumer panel (a representative target audience) and disclose the perception of the product, as well as the reality. Let the consumers make the final call.
  3. Align perception with reality. Your talents might very well lie in brilliantly creating convincing perceptions, but how do they stack up against the reality? If there's a mismatch, either one must be adjusted in order for them to be in sync.
  4. Be 100% transparent. Nothing less. The consumer needs to know what you know about them. Furthermore, they must be told exactly how you intend to use the information. If they don't like what they see, they need a fair and easy way to opt out.
  5. Almost any product or service has a downside – don't hide the negatives. Tell it as it is. Be open and frank, and communicate it in a simple and straightforward way.
  6. All your endorsements and testimonials must be real - don't fake them.
  7. Does your product have a built-in expiry date? If so, be open about it and communicate it in a visible, clear and easily understood manner.
  8. Avoid fuelling peer pressure among kids. Bear in mind you'd hate for your kids to come under such pressure.
  9. Be open and transparent about the environmental impact of your brand (including its carbon foot print and sustainability factors).
  10. Do not hide or over-complicate your legal obligations to be placed in your ads or on your packs. These should be treated just like any other commercial message on your pack, using a simple, easy-to-understand language.


TIME Magazine's Recipient of TIME Magazine's "World's 100 Most Influential People" in 2009. Author, Speaker, Advisor, and master Brand Builder, Martin Lindstrom has carved out an entirely unique niche as a global expert in the related fields of consumerism, marketing, brands, and of late, neuro-scientific research.

His quest: to make sense of this never-ending game called buying. He is the author of Buyology - Truth and Lies About Why We Buy (Doubleday, New York), a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller – plus 4 other major works on brands and marketing. Brandwashed, the much awaited 'sequel' to Buyology, was released in September, 2011.

A constant traveler, Lindstrom is on the road 300 days annually dispensing his brand of wisdom to top executives of McDonald's Corporation, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft Corporation, The Walt Disney Company and GlaxoSmithKline, amongst others. His personal global audience is estimated at over a million people. Lindstrom is a columnist for Fast Company and TIME and continues to feature in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Economist, New York Times, BusinessWeek, The Washington Post, USA Today, and numerous other publications.

Martin Lindstrom - Legoland
Brandwashed - out now!

"If you buy products, you need to read this book. It's really that simple."
- Tom Rath, New York Times Bestselling author of StrengthFinder 2.0 and How Full is Your Bucket

"I've only read two business books from cover to cover in the last five years: Buyology and Brandwashed. It is no coincidence that Martin Lindstrom is the author of both of those books. Brandwashed is smart, thought-provoking, and laugh out loud funny."
- Steven Levitt, bestselling author of Freakonomics

"A crucial bridge between the unconscious mind, the brand that's marketing to you, and the impulse to buy...it's a wake-up call that you can't afford to ignore!"
- Jean Chatzky, bestselling author of Money 911, Financial Editor NBC Today

I can't think of a better tour guide to take us into the black box that is brand marketing. I'll never look at my favorite brands the same way again!"
- Bill Tancer, bestselling author of Click: What Millions do Online and Why it Matters

"If you want to learn to cut through marketers' phoney health and wellness claims and make smarter decisions - about both your body and your money - you need to read this eye-opening book."
- Dr Oz, bestselling author of YOU: The Owner's Manual Health Series

"I am fascinated and empowered by Martin's work, both as a business woman and as an individual consumer trying to buy smarter! Martin has changed the way I view brands and consumer behaviors. Very enlightening!"
- Tyra Banks

"Martin Lindstrom makes the point that marketing today is about connecting with the consumers emotionally in order for them to participate in the brand. Surely he received some of his inspiration from Priceline.com and "the negotiator." I found his book insightful and informative."
- William Shatner

Official Quotes about Martin Lindstrom

"Martin Lindstrom, one of branding's most original thinkers, reveals how to break out of the two dimensional rut of sight and sound, and connect emotionally with all five senses. His book provides data and insights that will surprise even the most savvy brand watcher."
- Robert A. Eckert, CEO & Chairman, Mattel Inc.

"The combination of visual and audio stimuli delivers a 2 + 2 = 5 impact when building brands. It further pays to trigger other sensory channels-taste, touch, smell - to enhance the total impact. This is Martin Lindstrom's basic message, and he illustrates it beautifully through numerous cases with compelling arguments." "
- Philip Kotler

"Martin Lindstrom, one of branding's most original thinkers, reveals how to break out of the two dimensional rut of sight and sound, and connect emotionally with all five senses. His book provides data and insights that will surprise even the most savvy brand watcher."
- Robert A. Eckert, CEO & Chairman, Mattel Inc.

"When someone qualified challenges the conventional thinking, it will result in a fresh perspective and give food for thought about the way children behave. Martin Lindstrom does this in his new book BRANDchild."

""A real thought-provoker for marketing and business people. BRANDchild is a wonderful tool."
- STAN DAVIS, Author of Blur and It's Alive

"BRANDchild will be a valuable addition to our industry's literature"
- LESTER WUNDERMAN, Co-founder of Wunderman Cato-Johnson

"Lindstrom has collected and analyzed the data from generation one of the online merchandising experience, and built the manual for the next generation leap. A must read!"
- DAVID SCOTT CARLICK, Co-Founder of Double-Click

"Martin Lindstrom understood the wisdom of the net before most of us. Now he's sharing his best wisdom with you. Don't miss out."
- SETH GODIN, Author of Permission Marketing

"If you plan on doing any business with tweens anytime in the next ten years, you'd better study BrandChild today. Gives us deep insight into the community needs of group valuations of this powerful group of kids who deserve our financial respect."
- Don Peppers and Martha Rogers Ph.D., co-authors of the one-to-one book series, www.1to1.com

Gems from Martin

"A global brand building strategy is, in reality, a local plan for every market."

"Brand handling synergy means developing and communicating your company's values and identity consistently."

"Brands are created in our minds."

"B2B customers are B2C customers after 5pm – that's why B2B branding is just as important as B2C branding."

"A brand is more than a word. It is the beginning of a lifetime dialogue."