February 29, 2004
Final days of the big tent, and where next?
Today is the last day to contribute live to the tent of 100 tales on the future of the branding profession -http://groupjazz.com/chautauqua/ after that the conversations will be a permanent internet archive, and doubtless fuel for reflection among anyone who believes that marketing could help organisations do an altogether more human jobLinks to this post
The discussions have led to the emrgence of several open surveys. Here's one.
Which Sectors have lost their greatest Human Purpose?
If you come across a sector where one or more corporations appear to have lost their deepest human purpose, I would love to hear of it and add it to the register. I am asking various communities to keep a lookout, including this space sponsored by the EU! http://www.knowledgeboard.com/community/zones/sig/kmei.html
Extract from the register:
Broadly speaking transport sectors have 3 biggest goals: cost, schedules, safety. The trouble is these goals have tensions with each other. Moreover, lots of financial and transactional measures have been spreadsheeted into the system to manage the first two but safety will get less attention unless its positively led because its to do with human relationship connectivity not separate parts or transactional performances. The NASA inquest into Challenger showed that safety had been decimated over quarterly periods with up to a hundred human disconnections that had compounded over quarters like a cancer and were a consequence of managing only by numbers.
chris macrae, firstname.lastname@example.org permalink
February 20, 2004
People needed who want to stand up for the future
Iterative ways to network might be reply to this list, or me at email@example.com , or rehearse ideas at this discussion boardLinks to this post
-sorry these emerging ideas may still be in untidy state, but can you help -having browsed www.thecorporation.com the time seems to be ripening!
Can we openly catalogue some of the ways of we could all take communal care of what future is compounding until corporations are governed to see what's the next consequence of compounding conflicts, AND NOT just audit performance as what they took in the last 90 days?
0 If the movement against The Corporation (film, book) takes off, in how many countries do we have a personal POBox to answer how can Friends of Beyond help reformers of The Corporation?
1 STORIES on why communal or learning goods take time to build
2 Focus on viralising meaning of one statistic
3 Timeline whats' getting worse in your career's deepest experiences
4 Open catalogue Testimonies on Human & Social valuation Cases,
1 What stories can humans tell of how nurturing whatever is most important to you took time before it compounded its own productive identity - whether this is a child you reared or a community you helped to cultivate
2 Viralise one trend statistic: and educate anyone you can reach about its consequences. last night America's PBS aired a program all about one stunning statistic; through most of the second half of the 20th century, corporations contributed 17% to the total resources (federal taxes) of American society. Over the last decade this has dropped to 7% with companies spending more time on tax avoidance than innovation. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/tax/ What's the personal (human and social) consequences of individuals now having to pay more of the country's total bills? Is it surprising that arts or education suffers? Is it any wonder that everyone becomes more me-first and communal last?
3 Try to picture rough timelines to debate from your career's deep perspectives of what's happened and what's compounding. The future is always happening somewhere as an outcome of relationship patterns that have been patterned. ( So we also need to discuss how to make communal interventions if less human patterns are emerging) -mine's attached/linked; would be delighted to make a gallery if you can jot yours Posters @ EU, World Bank & youth Gallery If your career is more than 20 years to date, ask yourself compared with 20 years ago is my profession doing things that I would want my kids to value most more or less humanly. Dont be afraid to answer this question to yourself candidly. (Clue- research shows that an increasing numbers of people say the times I behave worst are being conditioned by where I work; I dont behave like that outside the organisation)
4 Open catalogue Testimonies on Human & Social valuation Cases,
as the opposite of the business case monopoly as usual - if you have one at any time post it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll share the catalogue to date.
Example in our catalogue
I spent most of the early 1980s as consultant for one multinational company; and the rest of the time for other companies that were going global. The company I spent most time working for was kind of wonderful. Its founder had decreed that every new country we go we discriminate positively towards training local people. So for example when American companies' shareholders told them to pull out of an apartheid-ridden South Africa, this company stayed there using every way it knew (within its walls and within its impact on the economy) to represent the under privileged, particularly women who are the main buyers of goods for the family. Then in the late 80s the numbers men started separating every part of the goodwill into bits- disconnecting the connected flows of what people identified with across disciplines, and countries business units. And they started separating the last 90 days performance from the whole leadership vision and values. Within 5 years the company had lost its culture of positive discrimination to local people; in fact they were serials of cost-cutting programs targeted at these people because the way the spread-sheeted quarterly numbers valued them made them appear to look like excessive costs. So the unique goodwill of the whole company's brand which had taken 50 years in constituent founding and cultivating was gone forever, and the company is a depressing image of the humanity that once gravitated so many extraordinarily talented people to prefer working with or for it, as well as investing in it.
February 17, 2004
Rehearsing Viral Gossip - how do we light a fire for humanity?
Here's some of the hot gossip going on at the biggest virtual tent in the universe (well unless you can tell us other spaces where great 14-day debates percolate). Remember entry is free, but to pick up on any of these conversations, you will need to register once, here http://groupjazz.com/chautauqua/Links to this post
SOUNDBITES - what you may be gossiping
link A True brand symmetry is a POWERFUL experience, one that produces results, and requires that leaders (of companies, institutions, brands, projects, teams) acknowledge the one thing that most brand strategies have historically missed...that individuals cannot be co-opted -- but instead can and must be trusted to co-create the brand.
link B As an open call among practitioners - whose conversation spaces seem so limited compared to academics - we want to value meta-disciplinary conversation: Beyond Branding emerged around our shared frustration about the shortcomings and false promises of much conventional branding, and our desire for something better, more human and more worthwhile to emerge. we criticise (how human is) branding from within rather than from outside; and our high-trust invitation to other professions is to ask is your dailioy work doing the most human practices you spent years learning your profession for? We don't say that the power of branding is inherently bad, but we do say the way it is often implemented is bad. Many brands now lack credibility because they fail to create value for some or all of their stakeholders.
link C The book is also a testament to the global nature of our concerns. We are worried by the institutionalization of bad practices by organizations and the antipathy that many people in business express. Down here in New Zealand, one might think that we would spark plenty of clear thinkers. Certainly Peter Jackson is living proof of that; Kevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi has written a book on 'lovemarks'. But New Zealand is also home to plenty of groupthink. The barriers seem pretty big, so how does one break through them? I began with the view that change has to occur within our current system. If money is the god of capitalism, then companies could be convinced to become more moral and honest if they could be shown there's money in it.
link D Brands exist in where there is agreement between stakeholders ...Managers and employees generally need a better experience of thier own brand. They need to internalize and personalize their partners' needs, and their service promise to the world. I believe this will improve employee and customer satisfaction, and the ways that organizations exist in the world.
A brand that stands for "more killing" multiplies negative equity
link F Open Space surprises participants by controlling less and giving them "agency" - the power and responsibility to create the conversations they want in an organisation. They discover that this process does not need to be managed by someone else.Cluetrain highlights how the conversation economy increasingly shapes brands way beyond the bidding of so-called brand managers. In a way, a form of Open Space is being forced on organisations anyway.
February 15, 2004
What the Gurus Said
A Report from the Medinge Group Meeting in Amsterdam, January 15-17, 2004Links to this post
Mid-January in freezing Amsterdam, an atmosphere of mystery and espionage of one kind or another, where a group of international brand gurus huddled in a luxurious townhouse on a quiet canal to debate the serious issues of their craft. Brand thinkers have been under assault of recent, with a regiment of highly verbal critics leading the charge against their clients, not to mention challenging the very ethic of their practices.
The gurus therefore debated their own relevance, repeating the saws about brands as signaling devices, bringing a promise of performance. But John Moore of London was not convinced. Brands, he argued, were about the performance and definitely not the promise. The hope was repeated that brands could at the very least be effective agents of change. After all, isn’t brand the largest piece of uninsured equity in the world? The bean-counters have certainly taken it under their wings, while controversy rages over how to best measure it. Pierre d’Huy, a delegate from France asked the group how he could help shareholders better comprehend the value of brand. A misanthrope from the USA grumbled that smaller brands have less of a chance going up against the powerful, especially when 99% of media perception of international brands is decreed once a year by Interbrand, who have set themselves up as some kind of a global standard; what their metrics consist of is a closely guarded secret, much like a perfumer’s proprietary formulae. That is the dilemma: how to measure brand, state its value, quantify its effectiveness. Besides, one fractious guru ventured, nobody cares about branding, really. Clean water might be a more powerful issue to advocate in the collective unconscious.
That having been said, higher theoretical questions eventually surfaced. In olden days, brands were all about limiting risks by imposing rigid standards. Now, with such a fiercely competitive business environment and companies under such intense scrutiny for every claim they make, brands may need to take some risks to distinguish themselves. One must be vigilant, so as not to be caught in a greenwash scenario, for example, where a company claims to have some eco attribute it really does not. The marketplace is volatile and lively, and today branding has few constants. Branding is a transformational ideology, where knowledge gets old fast. This begs the case for less rigid structures and more organic thinking on brand issues.
At the prior Medinge meeting six months ago, a pilgrimage to a secluded location outside Stockholm which occurs every August, the gurus were consumed with the idea of returning humanity to branding. They were so energized with the concept that the group publicly named a list of Top Brands with a Conscience in November. At January’s meeting the talk turned to the trend of a renewed emphasis on internal branding, helping employees to truly live the brand. In effect, internal branding is a company’s insurance, evolving the concept that the performance of the workers is the ultimate measure of the brand. This could explain the trend with businesses dedicated to making the work environment good for their employees above all else. It doesn’t matter what the product is or who receives it, the new wisdom goes, and it is less important what we say about it. Brand needs to be an entity which enables workers to do their best. The result is a win on all sides. Thomas Gad, from Stockholm, suggested naming 2004 the Year of The Workforce, signifying the trend in employee contentment-building. And Patrick Harris of London reminded the group of two other reasons besides share value that the dot coms branded: to attract good people, and then retain them.
Somewhat battered from all the intense interaction, the gurus dragged out of Amsterdam, past seedy coffee houses and architectural treasures, determined to fight the good fight for mindful branding until next August, when the aquavit and crawfish return. While it remains to be seen what next will be invoked in Stockholm, you can rely on the scrapping as a vital component, an apt metaphor for the building of dynamic brands of the future.
February 14, 2004
how would you respond to Amazon publishing something that is libellous to you?
Email us suggestions and we'll register non-libellous ones!Links to this post
Working for transparent governance can be dangerous work. Hey, let's get stuff in perspective: the last time I worked in a project team in Indonesia, we had to have security guards because our stakeholder & leadership identity research led to unearthing evidence that some of the board of directors of a large corporate were corrupt.
Here is a much more trivial example, but the question is how to be creative about it to ensure the internet's freedom of speech (if you are a lawyer who feels I have a multi-million case against Amazon, don't waste your time- that's not the settlement we transparency communities look for)
Amazon - Reviews of the sad? book Strategy Maps-Converting Intangible Assets into Tangible Outcomes, by Harvard's Kaplan & Norton
Fake reviews?, February 14, 2004
Reviewer: A reader from Chicago, IL United States
Please note that the reviews of Niels Pflaeging and Christopher Macrae should be disregarded. This is not because of incorrect material (I have bought but have not read the book), but because they cannot be trusted.The first author lists the latter under his favorites and runs MetaManagementGroup.com, a consulting company based on the Beyond Budgeting model he touts. The latter author wishes to be seen as the next Peter Drucker and has his own series of books.
Reply from Chris Macrae: My history of reviews
- you will see I have reviewed over 20 books with 4 or 5 stars. I've never bothered reviewing a 1-star book before but strategy maps is so much the mathematical and human opposite of systemising intangibles governance transparently for people, I felt I must speak up at Amazon, just as in the past I have by going to Harvard to give a talk on why governing with the value exchange-based theory of the firm (1,, 2) can now change every leadership decision that multiplies value in a transparently networked world. The professorial response was deafening - then later in the bar one owned up - can't see how we'd ever get research money from the establishment channels for your kind of work old boy. (Oh and by the way, after 10 years online (and 20 researching transparency of networking and how trust-flows) I have many thousand of friends in my inbox, but as far as my grey cells recall I've not had contact with any Niels Pflaegings) permalink
February 10, 2004
COULD IT BE?
2004 is becoming a tidal flow of youth movements internetworking with:Links to this post
1) The World Bank's current 1000 online conference (EU sampler), and later real summit in Asia
2) Youth movements being one of the funded arenas of the Australian worldwide network of NGO nets that (vested voluntary interest) I help West Europe linking to NGOs who want to actively cooperate for big 50 humanity issues
3) Harrison Owen volunteering to consider being the facilitator of open space for the first 5000 youth to be asembled together anywhere -its a bit like coke's end-vietnam riposte to the "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony" but this time being driven by reality-making networks not a dreamy image selling the friendship of a sugary water community to world youth
Could it be that youth or youth in you will save us? I believe YES but of course its ultimately what you do (eg tell us you'll join in IF what?) rather than just reading this and saying to yourself nice/nasty one chris, and clicking on to the next surf permalink
February 09, 2004
Can one of the world's top 10 brands survive this?
The Medinge Group, when it announced the top brands with a conscience, did so because we believed our selection would last. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the organizations we selected were reselected in 2004. And the "other" indices, which base their brands on old-school financial measures, aren't that reliable anyway.Links to this post
What do I mean? Take Mercedes-Benz. It's a top brand if you believe the other indices. However, quality of Mercedes-Benz vehicles has been dropping on quality surveys run by the likes of ADAC, the German automobile club. And as we predicted in Beyond Branding, consumers are taking action.
John Moore told us about badpension.com, now it's the turn of disgruntled Mercedes-Benz owners in the United States at www.mercedes-benz-usa.com. The man who began this site claims to have been sold a lemon, lied to and assaulted by Mercedes-Benz employees and his wife's life was threatened. Is it any wonder this company didn't make it anywhere near our Medinge top brands?
I have looked at DaimlerChrysler problems for some years: mismanagement of brands, the lawsuits over the claim that the merger between Daimler-Benz AG and Chrysler Corp. was one of 'equals', and now all that misbehaviour has filteredas it would have inevitablyto the customer level. Frankly, I would not consider either a BMW (no one smiles at youthat's the sort of brand it is) or Mercedes-Benz (they look awful design-wise and their quality is suspect). As word spreads about the www.mercedes-benz-usa.com web site, we may see one more example of the power of 21st-century grass-roots campaigns online. permalink
February 08, 2004
Fortifying the brandLinks to this post
A propos prissy-ness
Following on from Chris's entry on prissy-ness in the US, I see Robert Scoble at Microsoft is also pretty appalled by the response to the 1 second breast exposure - under the heading Ashamed to be an American he writesLinks to this post
Our society is screwed up.What I keep reminding myself is the extraordinary diversity of the US, and that the bizarre machinations of some of its mass media should not confuse tarring the entire population with the same brush. There are plenty of passionate progressive voices out there too. permalink
No greater virtual honor
In space, Chautauqua is an institution, indeed there can virtually be no greater honor than to share a stage with conversations that have run before involving some of the greatest humanist and leadership changing authors of our times http://groupjazz.com/chautauqua/highlights.html including such inspirational friends as:Links to this post
Harrison Owen http://www.practiceofpeace.com
Art Kleiner http://www.well.com/user/art.
Bill Jensen http://www.simplerwork.com
Howard Rheingold http://www.rheingold.com
There is also the not-for-nothing free opportunity to use caucus software; so why not sign up ahead of time at Chautauqua
have a look at some of the past conversations, cut your teeth if you are an active participant at the cafe including a warm up BB thread here once you've registered above
but if you have any interest at all in leadership communications -and whether globalisation is being executed in a sustainable way for your kinds and mine - do join from February 14 to the end of the month , live in the main tent as they say... permalink
February 07, 2004
Several of the authors of Beyond Branding will be taking part in an online discussion at the Group Jazz Chautauqua, from 15th to 29th of this month. Register at the Chautauqua site and join us later this month for a lively discussion. This is how they describe Chautauqua:Links to this post
MORE ABOUT CHAUTAUQUApermalink
February 05, 2004
The extreme Prissyness of Mass Media
Prissy is a value that concerns me. In a person, I see it as everything about inauthentic and the way that "oh so inadvertently" puts others at risk, or at the very least distracts from the loops of exploring we need, each of us to go through personally, to keep on learning human respect and trying to act accordingly except where we have determined a deliberate reason not to.Links to this post
So I have got to assume that a culture that enshrines prissiness into its biggest media is heading for shrinks. And if that is the case then one needs to make sure that culture doesnt engulf others, and offer people quicksanded by that culture diverse helping hands to jump out of the prissy sink into something that resonates whatever humanity's greater values are. (My daughter's school says they are love**, faith and hope though I find trust one that flows quite well)
Since bearing a breast at superbowl halftime, America's mass media has chorused such prissy outcomes as:
no more live shows with entertainers, they will be 5-minute video intercepted - expect the most boring ever Oscars' speeches this year
no breasts are to be shown on ER operating tables, causing a hasty cutting job in tonight's epsiode whose heroine was an elderly lady with breast cancer
I trust this is sufficient evidence of extreme prissyness. The next question is why do people's representatives say the people want this. I think I can see the control games that are going on here but perhaps those who want to debate that will do so by email email@example.com - who knows maybe I can feed some of our insights into the next drink my father has with Rupert. Is this really what media moguls want their life's work bequest to be?
PS of course love (if you could take sex out of its mediating) is the greatest interpersonal value multiplier. I am endebted to this learning organisation thread , even though it leads us into another dangerous conversation: what happens if a nation's defining mass media heroises prissyness and aggression in equal measure?
Love is the domain of relational behaviors through which another (a
person, being, or thing) arises as a legitimate other in coexistence
Aggression is the domain of relational behaviors in which another is
negated as a legitimate other in coexistence with oneself.
(I believe "love" and "aggression" are mutually exclusive sets of behaviors.)
February 04, 2004
The Organisations we spend our lifetime's with
We spend our lives serving and being served by organisations. Democracy involves choosing the typology of organisations we want to live with. The choices catalogued below are stark opposites- of course there are in betweens. However, I invite you first to suggest another stark opposite to feature in this catalogue. Knowing what choices we have in the organisations we structure and compound is the first step to making Brand Knowledge an inclusive discipline that we can all trust and be proud to commune around. We can then openly benchmark which sorts of methods systemise which sorts of organsiational typologies.Links to this post
February 02, 2004
Does BBC now stand for Bloated Broadcaster Crushed?
Join in Interbrand's debate: http://www.brandchannel.com/forum.asp?id=40 permalinkLinks to this post
Is this the clearest statement you know of why Beyond-Branding is pivotal to all our futures?
Tell us if you have a better one.Links to this post
We need to challenge the short-term commercial thinking that currently has veto power over global decision-making. Our basic problem is not a “values vacuum” but the fact that values that are widely agreed by the global citizens' community are not acted upon. Its voices are drowned out by the global power of commercial speech. ”Censorship by sound bites” also makes serious debate on implementing substantial change ever more difficult. Source Commissions for World's Future. permalink
Forget the race for the whitehouse, will the people free themselves from being slaves to the mass media
The race is on; the big issues multiply (references - 1) add notes to your biggest issue; 2) work out which of 1000 campaigners you need to network with first) that the people of the world want responses on that politicians feel are too big for them to encourage open conversations aboutLinks to this post
Tell us your bookmarks
Here, Anita Roddick of Bodyshop speaks eloquently
Here the world future council establishes a commission into the future of mass media-
20. Cultural Diversity and the Media
The global communications revolution has given wealthy media owners unprecedented rights to invade our lives with few ensuing responsibilities. We need a debate on how can the dangers of a global consumerist monoculture can be countered while safeguarding the individual right to choose life-styles within sustainable limits. We need to find new ways of safeguarding the values of a free media whilst enforcing the responsibilities of media owners and workers.
What are the best ways of restricting advertising to children? How can ”commerce-free space” in educational institutions be safeguarded? What is the role of the state in supporting and promoting culture? What best practices exist to overcome the digital divide? How can we spread computer literacy be spread without further supporting the global monopoly of a few corporations? In an ever-faster age, how can we protect the slow?
23. Children's Rights
Previous generations have often made large sacrifices to provide a better life for their children. Today many of us are doing the opposite: the interests of our children and their children are being sacrificed for our own short-term comfort, in the expectation that they will somehow find solutions to the many problems we have created.
Oh Poor Breast ...
The disgracing of CBS doubled up last night as 2 pop singers accidentally revealed one's naked breast in celebrating the end of superbowl's half-time. Once that furore is done and dusted get back to the big issue: why did CBS ban the greatest advert ever made on the biggest issue concerning American Youth's freedom and speech? permalinkLinks to this post
John Elkington's written an interesting piece for the WEF, doesn't seem to be up there yet, but it was on his blog today (Sunday). Interesting and informative for our various 'davos of branding' discussions. In addition to being a bit of a mover and shaker, John's a very useful analyst in these 'ere waters...Links to this post
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