Self-organising complex marketing systems LO26716

From: Chris Macrae (
Date: 05/23/01

Replying to LO26643 --

I'm not sure that I understand the common language or the mental model etc
of "self-organising system"

But if I explain why in my vocabulary both "architecture" (top-down design
of organisation culture, what people simply focus on, etc) and
"open-sourcing" ( every employee living and learning and adding knowhow to
Value Added) are vital in world class marketing/branding organisations,
then maybe we can cross-check ideologies, language, precepts!

If we go back to 1950ish, you'll find in "Practice of Management" that
Peter Drucker says (marketing and innovation add value everything else
adds cost). He also clarifies that in his terminology both of these
constructs are core, involve participation/interaction of every employee,
every department's contribution to building more value than unorganised
people could do... I labour this because he wasn't thinking of marketing
as mainly advertising and such external stuff whose mass activities were
barely yet invented (most of the world got tv after his writing)

Now for me value added at its simplest is an organisational pathway to
doing something unique in the world, that everyone would miss if that
company/organisation didn't exist. It something that magnetises the human
qualities of caring organisation-wide which fit your identity. Its why
you're communally proud to make a difference; it mixes with employees'
career ambitions and who they are, what they action learn. Its what makes
the system virtuous.

You need top down leadership architecture to connect, preserve that
magnetising core as well as stimulate progress. So every employee puts
their passion and skills into activities that serve that Unique Organising
Purpose (UOP), so nobody wastes money or time on non-essential stuff to
that (UOP). In the latter sentence above all I include the boardroom who
make the company's largest investment decisions, are they all innovative
and purposefully-aligning? Are they propelling value-adding forward rather
than defensively padding costs of seerving the market?

In recent years , the world's top 10 brand leadership researchers have
developed several tools for constitently checking whether the board's
investments in brands and intangibles are architecturally sound -and they
have been sorely needed because over and over again it has been found that
the intangibles infrastructure the board is thinking through can be
outdated compared with where the market environment is moving. eg
Globalisation, digitalisation of markets require different leadership
architectures in thought and action than ones that have historically been
invested in. Audiences of corporate brands become webbed into intricate
patterns - eg at certain times in going global its more important what
prospective partners/competitors think of your barnd than eg end users,
although in the long run value to the end user should be the number 1
performance of brand leadership.

I guess its obvious that a large company couldn't function well from a
1950s building which had no infrastructure changes made to that the last
half century; but when it comes to intangible infrastructures starting
with what brands has a company invested in through its history its amazing
how many companies don't question these organisational channels of knowhow
to the market in a fully integrated way,. You don't have a strategy
without the right brand architecture. You won't have fast communal
knowledge-sharing on core value-added drivers without the right brand
architecture. You don't know if you have an efficient or clueful way of
interacting with the human beings who have most urgent needs in your
marketplace. And so forth.

Unitil you've done that, encouraging open-sourcing (or I imagine
self-organising) might be recipe for disaster. For example, some worldwide
companies are still trying to manage over 1500 brands. If you let everyone
self-organise within such a structure you get 1500 different brand empires
at war with each other and probably few if any core to value adding in the
sense that I started this post with.

chris macrae
Chief Brand Officer Association Founding Group
(further details on request including online catalogue
of types of tools that CBOs and Intangible Architects use)


"Chris Macrae" <>

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