The enemy within: Philistines in the contemporary corporation

Grant McCracken

The study of culture and its meanings is the raw material of branding and the contribution of anthropology to marketing. In this article, eminent anthropologist Grant McCracken describes how this core discipline is often missing in the ways companies study their markets. He fingers the culprits – the formal disciplines and the bogus gurus – that, in their different ways, obstruct the proper understanding of the importance of culture to marketing

Levi Strauss, the American maker of blue jeans, missed a change in culture, a shift in consumer taste and preference. The penalty: $1 billion. Quaker missed a change in culture. The penalty: $1.4 billion. Recently, Facebook broke faith with many millions of users and put its rocketing value cap at risk. If only these corporations had had a CCO, a chief culture officer, a senior manager who understands culture, spotting the opportunities and dangers contained therein.