I was recently asked by my lovely colleague, Susan Fournier, to write a chapter for her book examining Consumer-Brand Relationships. That notion of relationships was so endlessly interesting and worthy of exploration. I had to say yes.
So I thought about this topic and what was so interesting to me. And I thought…hey, the future of these relationships is something that we would like to be able to predict. Can we do that prediction in a cultural sense, then? What would that mean?
What would it mean to go beyond anthropology as study and writing to anthropology as action, as a practice, as a reclamation of a set of rituals?
For the idea of ethnography has for a while been to learn practices, to actually do and seek to become like the member of the culture, a full participating member.
In order to predict the future of brands, I will use a range of techniques, and combine them, I thought to myself.
I will think of this as a performance, an artwork, an experiment, and a marketing demonstration. Promotional material for my personal brand, in other words.
The union of these two elements, these social media elemental opposites–the corporate brand online and the personal brand online, this is the future of brands.
And I sought from there to find some data with which to explore this idea, and I chanced upon Textualized Prediction HISTORY: some great candidate books, including
- UBIK, Eye in the Sky, and Perky Pat’s Stigmata that Matter: each by Philip K. Dick
- Down and Out in The Magic Kingdom: by Cory Doctorow
- Idoru and All Tomorrow’s Parties: by William Gibson
I chose to start my work on this topic here, thinking about one of this group of books, as I also contemplate, in public and private, the content for the new netnography book, a book that will be crowdsourced more than anything I have ever tried before
(although much of academic work is, in fact, crowdsourced, which is why it often reads like a crowdsourced text).
In the next blog post, I not only tell you what I am writing about. I start to reveal it to you in the freshest first draft…why not?
Let us begin to try to answer these questions about the future of brands, and along the way of course, of humanity itself.
Human history. And our humanity itself as a quality of Being Human. And then, to reward my loyal readers, I begin to weave in a whole other plotline. One I hope you will follow on CNN as it breaks major marketing news (or does not–a null hypothesis!) in headline form for social media brilliance by a marketing professor who tests the limits of academic theory at the current time. Or not.