The doom and gloom of the economic downturn, the deterioration of mass markets, the pervasiveness of the digital lifestyle, and the fragmentation of traditional societal institutions have propelled a new search for simplicity and non-economic value systems. Consumption-driven wealth and status are being replaced by identity, belonging, and a strong desire to contribute and do something "meaningful" rather than just acquire things. "The job of leadership today is not just to make money. It's to make meaning," writes management consultant John Hagel.
Tim Leberecht, frog’s VP of Marketing and Communications, argues that this new cultural climate presents a historic opportunity for brands to transform themselves into arbiters of meaning. Becoming Chief Meaning Officers, marketers must move beyond simply connecting products and customers with the goal to facilitate transactions – they must now produce "meaning" through actions and interactions and create real social value. A "meaning surplus" will become imperative: Only brands that give more than they take will be able to create sustained brand loyalty.