Noted cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken recently wrote about the deep challenge facing luxury brands, based on a Fast Company article.  Both the Fast Company article and Grant used the above vintage image as a key example of what’s wrong in luxury marketing.  In a nutshell, he points out, that it’s the sensibility of the times that have changed.

Attention, sellers! The single most important idea driving your market place is dying. This idea of status is dying. It is now a recipe for ridicule.

How to avoid this?  It’s simple, he says:

What to do? How could luxury brands have prepared themselves for this cultural disruption? At the risk of repeating myself, the single simplest strategy is to hire a Chief Culture Officer.

No, this shouldn’t be confused with an HR function.  Rather, this is about having someone in the company who’s responsible for, and empowered to, ensure the company has an outside-in perspective.    I go back to the example of what Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has empowered it’s top social scientist Genevieve Bell to do.

What’s personally exciting (and humbling) is that he included me in a list of people who could’ve been helpful.  And I’m in some great company, including my 2 Dope Boys podcasting brothers Phil McKenzie and Michael Brooks.  Here’s the list:

There’s a ton of talent out there. A few names come to mind. Tom LaForge, Barbara Lippert, Steffon Davis, Ana Domb, Philip McKenzie, Sam Ford, Joyce King Thomas, Michael Brooks, Jamie Gordon, Monica Ruffo, Rochelle Grayson, Kate Hammer, Drew Smith, Rob Fields, Parmesh Shashani, Shara Karasic, Ujwal Arkalgud, Tracey Follows, Eric Nehrlich, Bud Caddell, Barb Stark, Mark Boles, Mark Miller, Helen Walters.

(For a longer list, see this Pinterest page filled with candidates.)

All of these people are worth looking up.  And, if you haven’t read it, you should check out Grant’s book, Chief Culture Officer.

Posted by Rob Fields