Levi-Strauss, the jeans and apparel maker, missed out on the hip-hop trend. They didn’t realize that those kids in baggy jeans represented a whole new—and lucrative—market opportunity, one they could have seen coming if they had but been paying attention to the shape of American culture.
Levi Strauss isn’t alone. Too many corporations outsource their understanding of culture to trend hunters, cool watchers, marketing experts, consulting firms, and, sometimes, teenage interns. The cost to Levi-Strauss was a billion dollars. The cost to the rest of corporate America is immeasurable.
The lesson? The American corporation needs a new professional. It needs a Chief Culture Officer.
Grant McCracken, an anthropologist who now trains some of the world’s biggest companies and consulting firms, argues that the CCO would keep a finger on the pulse of contemporary cultural trends—from sneakers to slow food to preppies—while developing a systematic understanding of the deep waves of culture in America and the world. The CCO’s professionalism would allow the corporation to see coming changes, even when they only exist as the weakest of signals.
Delightfully authoritative, trenchantly on point, bursting with insight and character, Chief Culture Officer is sure to expand your horizons—and your business.