The rise of social brands — through social media — is driven by our need to push aside the control of large, impersonal organizations, and participate in the essence of invitational brands: to define ourselves and find meaning through our involvement in the implicit communities of use surrounding products and services.
This is not just another way of looking at self-identification by class, or economic bracket, or being in the in crowd. It is a direct expression of an emergent, bottom-up exploration of our relationships to each other and our purpose in the world, where the goods and services we acquire and apply become a medium, in effect, where we interact with others.
Stowe also points to a terrific read from John Winsor.
We are in the twilight of a society based on data. In the coming years, brands and companies will not thrive on the basis of their data, but on the strength and meaning of their stories, creating products and services that evoke emotion. Products will become less important than the stories they convey and the way those stories are interpreted. It is a return of the ancient form of narrative. Companies need to have stories to tell – stories that inspire action. And companies must themselves embody those stories with congruency and authenticity.