The Brand Plays On
Chief Culture Officer:
How to Create a Living, Breathing Corporation
by Grant McCracken
$26.95 List Price
Corporations are struggling in the new millennium to connect with consumers. After all, as we've been told over and over again, in the brave new branded world of marketing, business is no longer about selling products or attracting customers; it's about forging personal relationships. Grant McCracken realized that "the days of a simple-minded marketing, of finding and pushing 'hot buttons'—these days were over." And so he conceived the Chief Culture Officer—the eponymous hero of his new book—who "has the weather maps" for the "North Sea [of culture] out of which commotion constantly storms." The CCO provides a "deeper, slower knowledge" of the world by eavesdropping on design collectives, supping at the latest bistros, wandering into the undiscovered nooks of the Internet. The CCO is out to "reverse-engineer the [Martha] Stewart sensibility." Who needs ideas to start a company when you can hire someone to gather the best from what's already out there?
Once just a humble anthropologist, McCracken was pulled into the limelight by an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where he was paired with a hotshot New York designer in a home-makeover episode. While the designer fretted about the drapes, McCracken spotted the father and daughter dancing and championed their play as evidence of "homeyness." Homeyness is part of what McCracken calls "slow culture," the matrix of associations that gives meaning to our objects and interactions. In essence, the operating manual for the CCO works out to an extended version of that homey, Oprah-fied insight: an admixture of sociology and