Connecting with the New Consumer 

Transforming brand equity into a brand culture

Robert A. Eckert
Kraft Foods

Brands and consumers are always changing. Sometimes the change is incidental. Sometimes it runs much deeper.

Over the years, consumers have migrated from uniformity to fragmentation. They've gone from the 'we' decade of the '60s, to the 'me' decade of the '70s, through the utter indulgence of the '80s, to the value-consciousness of the '90s.

Brands have traveled from the heights of mass-marketing dominance through the narrows of segmentation. Earlier this decade, they were declared legally dead. And now, the pundits tell us, they're alive and well again.

We're in another of those periods when the change runs deep and the very nature of the buyer-seller relationship is being redefined. The rate of change isn't especially fast, but the implications of it are particularly meaningful.