Quotes + Thoughts | Rob Walker on today’s empowered consumers


Despite the declarations that consumers have more power than ever, we continue buy into branding and the idea that products define our personalities. In fact, we’re consuming more than ever.

~ Rob Walker, Author: “Buying In

Walker takes a close look at past and present consumerism in America, arguing that older forms of advertising are no longer effective. In their place, the trend has shifted to what the author calls “murketing,” a mix of “murky” and “marketing.” He explains that instead of being manipulated by marketing, consumers are using it to their advantage; and instead of being shaped by products, consumers are using them to express individual identity and social outlook.


Told from the perspectives of both consumers and marketers, the book entwines historical fact, commentary from experts in the field, and pop-culture examples drawn from brand names such as Timberland, Sanrio, Apple, and Nike. It also incorporates conversations with CEOs of companies like American Apparel as well as start-up projects from the skateboarding and music industries. Walker examines all aspects of “murketing,” including ethics, emerging technology, and commercialization versus underground movements. This book is both accessible and relevant to teens, with many of the examples being pulled from Generations Y and Z.

Buy In is a good read for anyone interested in branding, advertising, or social trends.

As the “Consumed” columnist for the New York Times, Walker has been tracking consumer trends for a while now. He argues that, despite the declarations that consumers have more power than ever, we continue buy into branding and the idea that products define our personalities. In fact, we’re consuming more than ever. Walker argues that “there’s nothing to be gained by simply believing weare immune to brands. But there might be something gained in understanding why we aren’t.”

The most ubiquitous innovators like Google or Apple ultimately transform the everyday habits of our society. The most creative marketers use stories and cultural happenings to embed their brands as a cherished part of our lives. If you are interested in this growing phenomenon, check out Rob Walker, the New York Times Magazine contributor who writes the weekly column Consumed, and recently published the ground-breaking book, Buying-In:

PhotobucketThis cultural perspective is vital as organizations find themselves in perpetual cycles of change. Change Leadership is ultimately about telling the right stories that people can relate to – whether that is your customers, employees, members, or donors.

Inspiration: Apartment Therapy, A Storied Career


About dianhasan

Brand Storyteller, Travel Writer, Speaker, Creative Writer & Thinker - avid observer of randomness in everyday life - Sustainable Business, Eco Matters, Sustainable Urban Issues, Architecture, Heritage Conservation, Innovation & Brand-Strategy, Cross-Cultural Communications, Travel, Tourism & Lifestyle.
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