Interview: Grant McCracken – 04/13/10

The recording from today’s show is now available. Click the player above to listen now, or download as an itunes podcast.

Recorded on Tuesday, April 13 with guest Grant McCracken, business anthropologist, and author of Chief Culture Officer.

Grant and I will be exploring the intimate connection between culture and storytelling, and its implications for brand marketers and innovators alike. I recently attended Grant’s one day bootcamp on Chief Culture Officer, and you can read my review of the remarkable experience. You’re in for a treat with this upcoming interview. Grant is a true sage of perspective on the evolving currents of 21st century culture. You want to be a part of this conversation.

Sign up to receive the dial-in info, and take part in the live interactive interview. You’ll also receive announcements of future shows and links to the podcast for listening at your own convenience.

About Grant McCracken

Grant McCracken holds a PhD from the University of Chicago in cultural anthropology. He is the author of Culture and Consumption, Culture and Consumption II, Plenitude, Big Hair, The Long Interview, Flock and Flow, and Transformations. He has been the director of the Institute of Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Business School, a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge and he is now a research affiliate at C3 at MIT. Grant blogs extensively at

He has consulted widely in the corporate world, including the Coca-Cola Company, Campbell Soup, Diageo, IBM, IKEA, Sesame Street, Chrysler, Kraft, and Kimberly Clark.  He has served on marketing advisory boards for IBM and the Boston Beer Company.  Basic Books has just published his latest book: Chief Culture Officer.

“McCracken convinced me not only that a CCO is necessary for any consumer-oriented company…startlingly original and useful.”
Katherine Bell, Harvard Business Review

Chief Culture Officer, the book

Nike’s “Just Do It.” Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty.” HBO’s ability to crank out one successful drama after another. Microsoft’s “I am a PC” comeback. Why did these take off while others flopped? In Chief Culture Officer, anthropologist and consultant Grant McCracken argues brands succeed when corporations capitalize on culture.  Not corporate culture or “high culture,” but the world outside the company—the ideas, emotions and activities that make up the life of the consumer.  Apple, Nike, Virgin, and Volkswagen all found a way to make culture pay.

We can also see the costs of misreading culture: Gatorade missed out on a change in culture and paid a $1.4 billion penalty; Best Buy purchased Musicland just as people began downloading music online; and Levi-Strauss missed out on the hip-hop trend.  Executives failed to notice what was happening in world outside the corporation, and paid dearly for it.

Keeping track of culture, understandings its opportunities, avoiding its pitfalls, this is the first order of business for the American corporation and something it does badly.  This book argues that the corporation needs an expert in the C-suite who makes culture a full time responsibility, someone to join the CEO, CFO and CIO.   What it needs is a Chief Culture Officer or CCO. BusinessWeek calls CCO one of the best innovation and design books of 2009

“One of those rare books that made me snap to attention…a fresh take on the impact of culture on the corporation”
– Jack Covert, CEO Reads

Sign up to receive the dial-in info, and take part in the live interactive interview on Tuesday, April 13.

9 thoughts on “Interview: Grant McCracken – 04/13/10”

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  4. very very cool, thank you for making participation available via ustream, I have 27 April in my diary 11pm my time… happy I will be able to ask questions/participate rather than ask the computer questions!

  5. yes, 1pm EST/NYC – although I may actually have to shift the time to 1:30pm EST for the show on the April 27th, due to another commitment I can't work around.

  6. oh no, I just checked (again) with the time converter – it's 3.30am here… for some reason when I checked earlier today I got 11pm, which was do-able. Not promising anything for 3.30am tho'…. bit toooo early!

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