As entrepreneurs, if we want to survive... we have to know what our customers want. That changes... it sucks but it happens.
CultureBy: American culture and the story of OJ, 2018-May-2 by Grant McCracken
We are accustomed to thinking about value as something that comes from utility, from functional benefits, from what Christensen calls “purpose.”
This is merely part of value. Value also comes from meaning.
But functional value is the thing we measure when we price. Meaning is largely invisible to our calculations. This is why culture is the “dark matter” of American capitalism.
And this brings us to the story of OJ.
Not very long ago, a new idea stole into the American consciousness.
The glass of OJ, once the picture of health, was now being called “a glass of sugar.”
The effect was spectacular. Between 2002 and 2017, the Nielsen-measured retail U.S. orange juice market declined by 50 percent. The WSJ heralded the death of this “breakfast table star.” Everyone suffered, farmers, an agricultural industry, and brands like Tropicana, Florida’s Natural, and Minute Maid.
It was a beautiful, if painful, experiment. OJ still had all its functional benefits. It was still charged with Vitamin C, minerals and all that non-specific “goodness.” The only thing that had changed was the cultural meaning. What was once “the very image of refreshment” had become an object of suspicion.
So what changed, precisely? American culture changed. What culture gave, it took away. What it valued, it devalued. What it charged with one meaning, it charged with another.
Specifying what OJ meant in its heyday is the work historians, semioticians, anthropologists, sociologists, strategists, planners, and other “trained professionals” who can comb through American culture and tease out the what, when, who and how of OJ’s rise to its place as “the very image of refreshment.”
Specifying how OJ fell, this falls to the manager, the C-Suite, the leaders of the organization. They may take these truths to be incontrovertible:
1) the meaning of OJ is arbitrary. It’s a little like the price of OJ on commodity markets. It responds to forces outside itself.... https://cultureby.com/2018/05/american-culture-and-the-story-of-oj.html