What’s in a meme? #newmediarealitycheck

We began with great hopes: mindboggling viral reach, irresistible tipping points, great floods of influence. New media was supposed to ...

We began with great hopes: mindboggling viral reach, irresistible tipping points, great floods of influence. New media was supposed to remediate the world, giving new instruments to new elites. To be sure, some good things have happened, but most memes in the world are images of kittens layered with funny remarks.

The more communication platforms and technology evolve, so does consumer engagement, and brands must think differently to reach them effectively. This is a good time to go back to basics, explore this new context and understand what experiences – new and old, online and offline – people really respond to, and decide where to go from here.

Grant McCracken holds a PhD from the University of Chicago in cultural anthropology. He is the author of Culture and ConsumptionCulture and Consumption IIPlenitude, Big HairThe Long InterviewFlock and FlowTransformations, and Chief Culture Officer.

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. He is a weekly contributor to the Harvard Business Review Conversation.  His latest book, Culturematic, was published by the Harvard Business Review Press in May 2012.

Grant McCracken
Anthropologist & Author

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