by: Idris Mootee

Here
is a question ...is it corporations, who by their ad campaigns ultimately
determine what consumers want? Or is it consumers, whom producer must
satisfy in order to stay in business? Or as Flavio puts it "Beware of
the connected-consumer. For he/she will have a vote on what the next "unobtainable" will be. We want to 'co-create the unobtainable'. After all, we do this for hours in the web, everyday." Good observations.
Let's take a look at Bart's view (from his post this morning):

"Luxury
comes from exclusivity. Individualism equals exclusivity. So by
definition, every time a brand gives room to consumers to express their
individualism, it becomes an exclusive, luxurious good. This will lead
to a future of consumers using their self-expression to get the luxury
into pretty much any brand in their brandsphere."

"On the other hand, one could also argue luxury brands should never empower consumers, as that (not being able to personalize your brand) would create an unobtainable in itself."

This
deceptively simple question has been at the heart of debate between
marketing scholars and practitioners. The success of marketing lies in
its ability to embed meanings in brands and products. This suggestions
leads to the important conclusion that meaning does not necessary
emanate from the material or functional aspects of products or
services. Consumer understandings and experiences of what are seemingly
objectives properties are simply "culturally constructions" and often comes from "conversations". Today
many of these conversations are happening in a virtual environment and
cultural constructions happen a lot faster and are more global in
nature.
Brands have symbolic meanings in all cultures and
societies. Marketers need to induce the consumer with a preference or
to pay a premium for luxury brands that are sometimes (sometimes) more
mass produced similar quality products. And now, the power to induce is
shared by the consumers.

Once
markets believed that to mobilize meanings it means owning and
monopolizing through media channels of meaning creation. Nike, for
instance, does not aim to attract particular meanings to its products;
it just needs to attach the swoosh to any person, place or event that
is granted cultural value in the world of sport. Mercedes Benz does aim
to attract particular meanings to its range of automobiles; it just
needs to have its logo to be seen in major events of golf of tennis
where cultural value is being granted.

So that brings us the conclusion that a CMO should really be called the Chief Meaning Officer.
How many CMO out there that truly understands what we have discussed
the last couple of days and their marketing team is fully equipped for
this new job of "co-creating meaning with customers?" For sure, traditional ad agencies struggle so much and many are stuck in the 80's advertising paradigm
. How many of them have the right mindset and tools to sell the "unobtainable"?

Original Post: http://mootee.typepad.com/innovation_playground/2007/09/cmo-stands-for-.html

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