What do leadership and a tall caramel macchiato have in common?

Erikjan Lantink
5 min readMay 3, 2024

I remember vividly one of my university lectures on consumer behavior. I studied economics, specialized in management and marketing, and loved the lessons on behavior.

I was already interested in culture (I took an elective on Japanese culture and what we could learn from Western societies), psychology (I excelled at organizational psychology), and consumer behavior (which is crucial for business success).

One quote I will never forget, which I can attribute to Professor Peter Leeflang, one of the academic marketing gurus in the Netherlands, holds a profound relevance to the topic of leadership:

“People don’t buy perfume because they want perfume. They buy perfume because they need to feel good and self-assure themselves.”

It’s the first time I’ve heard about needs and wants. A need is something we need to live our lives or sometimes even survive. A want is something we desire but can live without. The above perfume example is ultimately about the need for belonging and self-esteem.

Another example. We need food to survive but want a tall caramel macchiato with whipped cream.

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Erikjan Lantink

Business & Leadership coach. Interim Leader. Writer. Speaker. Former Retail Executive (general management; operations; HR)