I interviewed Debbie Millman over the weekend, and she helped me see an unexpected connection between this confidence and the brand.
When the corporation loses it's nerve, it ceases to take chances. It begins to white-knuckle its way through the world. It begins to lean towards stasis. The consumer may too.
Debbie sees a value cascade at work. In the positive version of this cascade, confidence begets confidence. The confidence of senior management becomes a confidence in the corporation. This in turn becomes a confidence in the brand. And this in turn becomes a confidence in the consumer. Confidence ends up as a part of the augmented brand. But only if it is there in the head and heart of the senior manager.
The negative version of the cascade is, well, what you would expect. The senior manager loses his or her nerve. This carries into the brand and this carries into the consumer. In effect, the consumer is infected by failing confidence of the corporation.
Whoa, Nelly. This is a radical proposition. It has several implications. One of them is that if corporations want consumers to start spending again, they have start spending too. More to the point, the corporation has to begin acting like there is a future in the future. Because here, as in so many things culture, wishing makes it so. Economies, like cultures, have a performative quality.
See Debbie Millman's website here. Recording of the interview to follow here or on Ning for Chief Culture Officer.
Thanks very much to all of those who voted yesterday. (Polls are still open for those who haven't yet.) It looks like we had around 140 votes with a dead heat between Covers 1 and 2. I will keep you posted on the outcome. A decision has to be made soon!