Synopses & Reviews
Levi-Strauss, the jeans and apparel maker, missed out on the hip-hop trend. They didn’t realize that those kids in baggy jeans represented a whole new—and lucrative—market opportunity, one they could have seen coming if they had but been paying attention to the shape of American culture.
Levi Strauss isn’t alone. Too many corporations outsource their understanding of culture to trend hunters, cool watchers, marketing experts, consulting firms, and, sometimes, teenage interns. The cost to Levi-Strauss was a billion dollars. The cost to the rest of corporate America is immeasurable.
The lesson? The American corporation needs a new professional. It needs a Chief Culture Officer.
Grant McCracken, an anthropologist who now trains some of the world’s biggest companies and consulting firms, argues that the CCO would keep a finger on the pulse of contemporary cultural trends—from sneakers to slow food to preppies—while developing a systematic understanding of the deep waves of culture in America and the world. The CCO’s professionalism would allow the corporation to see coming changes, even when they only exist as the weakest of signals.
Delightfully authoritative, trenchantly on point, bursting with insight and character, Chief Culture Officer is sure to expand your horizons—and your business.
"McCracken (Flock and Flow), a research affiliate at Convergence Culture Consortium at MIT, argues that every company needs a chief cultural officer to anticipate cultural trends rather than passively waiting and reacting. CCOs should have the ability to process massive amounts of data and spot crucial developments among an array of possibilities; they will be able to see the future coming, no matter which industry they serve, and create value for shareholders, move product, create profit and increase the bottom line. McCracken provides an impressive list of individuals deeply connected and in tune with the zeitgeist including Steve Jobs, A.G. Lafley, Mary Minnick, Joss Whedon and Johnny Depp who fought Disney in order to create a campy male lead in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie as well as such corporations as Starbucks and Nike that have 'refashioned culture.' McCracken's case is persuasive, and his book, peppered with pop culture references and enlivened by his restlessly inquisitive nature (and ability to strike up conversation with just about anyone), makes for enlightening and entertaining reading." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Seth Godin, author of Tribes & Purple Cow
“The title of this book is a lie. It's not merely for companies that decide they need a Chief Culture Officer, or even just for those who aspire to that job. It's for you. Right now. If your job involves marketing, inventing, selling or simply investing in companies that make stuff, this book is a must read.”
John Deighton, Brierley Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
“For those who are open to its thrall, Chief Culture Officer will change the trajectory of their lives.”
Faris Yakob, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Strategist, McCann Erickson New York
“In Chief Culture Officer, Grant McCracken highlights the increasing importance of cultural understanding for brands that wish to remain relevant—and profitable—in the protean flux of the modern marketplace, as he carves out a new role for the 21st century corporation. The best marketers can hope for is to create something that resonates so strongly it becomes part of our cultural fabric. This book is an indispensable tool for achieving that goal.”
Tyler Cowen, author of Create Your Own Economy
“I have deep admiration and respect for Grant McCracken, a nimble thinker who combines a mastery of marketing, culture, anthropology, and modern business practice. Chief Culture Officer has many lessons for anyone interested in understanding how to run a successful business in the early 21st century. It will prove one of the most stimulating books of the year.”
Philip Kotler, author of Chaotics: The Business of Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence
“Marketing gets failing grades when it comes to understanding and using culture. In Chief Culture Officer—a delectable cultural soup that is sure to stir your taste buds—Grant McCracken makes a compelling case that culture will be marketing’s next silver bullet. I whole-heartedly endorse his call for bringing culture-thinking into the company.”
Ben Casnocha, author of My Start-Up Life: What a (Very) Young CEO Learned on His Journey through Silicon Valley
“This is a marvel of a business book: highly entertaining, original, and provocative. Entrepreneurs who want to understand their customers, target market, and the cultural dynamics that shape the business world—which is to say all entrepreneurs—need to read it.”
Richard Grefé, CEO, AIGA | the professional association for design
“Grant McCracken, once again, sees clearly the patterns in which innovation, enterprise, and smart people can influence change, create value, and respond to popular culture, where real people experience choice. The book is terrific and spot on.”
Marian Salzman, partner and chief marketing officer, Porter Novelli
“Grant McCracken has cracked the holy grail of what’s next to blend talent management, corporate strategy, and trendspotting, and his storytelling style captivates and educates. I am blown away.”
Henry Jenkins, author of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
“Building on decades of eye-opening research into the culture of consumption, Grant McCracken demonstrates why many companies get blindsided by cultural factors that were hidden in plain view, and offers a compelling argument for why they need to bring cultural expertise into their executive suite. Here's hoping more corporate executives hear his call.”
Corporations often have an alphabet soup of executives, but they don't have anyone to decipher the most complex problem of all: culture. Grant McCracken, an advisor to some of the world's leading companies and consulting firms, argues that every company needs a Chief Culture Officer--or suffer the competitive consequences.
McCracken urges corporations to stop outsourcing culture to trend hunters, cool watchers, marketing experts, and consulting firms. He argues that the CCO will keep a finger on the pulse of fast-moving trends while developing a real understanding of the deep waves that move culture in America and the world. For corporations that must excel in the marketplace and individuals who want to financially make good use of their cultural knowledge, Chief Culture Officer will establish new standards for how business makes its way in the world.
How can you become Steve Jobs, A.G. Lafley, or David Ogilvy? Hint: read this book.
The American corporation--deaf and blind to the world around it--needs a new professional. It needs a Chief Culture Officer.
Grant McCracken, an anthropologist who now trains some of the world's biggest companies and consulting firms, argues that the CCO would keep a finger on the pulse of contemporary cultural trends while developing a systematic understanding of the deep waves of culture in America and the world. The CCO would be the corporation's eyes and ears, allowing it to detect coming changes, even when they exist only as the weakest of signals.
Trenchantly on point and bursting with insight and character, Chief Culture Officer is sure to expand your horizons--and your business.
About the Author
is a Research Affiliate at C3 at MIT. He earned his PhD in anthropology at the University of Chicago and was the founding Director of the Institute of Contemporary Culture. He has taught at Cambridge University, McGill University, and the Harvard Business School. He consults with an array of companies, including Campbell Soup, Coke, L’Oreal, IBM, and the Children’s Television Workshop. He has written nine academic books and his work has been covered by Oprah, the New York Times
, the LA Times
, and BusinessWeek
. He lives in Connecticut.