22 February 2008

Consumer Trends Forum in Boston - Notes from Generation Gap

I've just returned from a quick trip to Boston to give the opening keynote at the Consumer Trends Forum International conference. I truly appreciate the invitation, especially because it gives me the opportunity to expose some of the consequences of Valence Theory to people who actually have to develop and market products in the so-called real world.

Based on the overwhelming response I received yesterday morning (and through the break and later, during the lunch) I think they liked it.

For those who are interested, I've uploaded my talk notes here. These are more sketch notes rather than a completed essay - the earlier parts are very sketchy since I know the patter of the 3,000 years of the history of Western civilization according to the Toronto School of Communication. More fleshed out are the sections following the description of Valence Theory, that outline the evolution of the concept of mass media, the change in the relationships among employees, customers and suppliers, and the consequences for marketing. Especially important, I think, is my reconception of Brand, not as a manifestation of the company's vision - which I suggest is entirely the wrong sensory metaphor. Instead, I maintain that the dominant sensory metaphor in a UCaPP world is touch. Hence, it is the tactility statement - who are you going to touch, and how are you going to touch them, today - that is the basis of the contemporary Brand promise.

Thanks to the conference organizers for the invitation, for making all the arrangements, and for the very warm welcome you afforded me.

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