Brand New World

Summary Written by Chris Taylor
"More than half of all cell phone users now live in developing countries, making the mobile phone the first electronic technology to garner more users in the Third World than the First."

- Brand New World, page 223

The Big Idea

Authentic Empathy

"...the one aptitude that's proven impossible for computers to reproduce, and very difficult for faraway workers connected by electrons to match, is empathy."- Brand New World, page 75

Brand New World has a fascinating chapter on “Silk Street”; a section of Beijing that occupies a seven-storey office building and sells top quality knock offs. (It’s an incredible chapter. You should read it.) The lesson from this section of the book is this: anything that can be seen can be duplicated. Anything that can be manufactured, anything online; truly anything can be produced by someone else for cheaper. Except experience. The brands that are poised to dominate the business world in the years to come are the ones that engage their customer base. The brands that ask questions and then genuinely listen to the answers. The brands that provide their customers with something beyond the transaction.

Lenderman uses the example of the Apple “Genius Bar” to illustrate how one brand is doing this brilliantly. Walk into any Apple retail location, and head to the back of the store. There you’ll find a long counter staffed by true Apple experts. These are the people who live and breathe the digital space and exist (for their eight hour shifts at least) as Sherpas for newbies to their world. They help you understand the Apple world and all its devices. And in doing so, they build relationships. They connect with their customers, 1 on 1 in real time. They provide an experience. They organically spread the Apple fever. And the brand is thriving as a result.

Insight #1

"Try Before You Buy"

"Stop saying what your offerings are through advertising and start creating places - permanent or temporary, physical or virtual, fee-based or free - where people can experience what those offerings, as well as your enterprise, actually are."- Brand New World, page 134

Apple is one of the many, many examples Lenderman uses of companies that are successfully navigating the waters of the new business world by creating an experience for their customers, and fostering genuine interaction as a result. Using consumerism of developing nations as a backdrop to his story, Lenderman really hammers home the point that the time of telling people what to buy, and why (particularly through TV, radio or print) is dead. It’s time for companies to put up or shut up. Companies need to be active. Rather than talk about how they’re “doing their part for the environment”, they need to show it. The need to allow consumers to engage with it. Marketers need to learn this. Business owners need to embrace this. But how does it affect those of us who aren’t in the marketing space, or don’t control companies?

I think the lesson for us is engagement from our end. Now, more than ever, there are ways to talk to your brands. Blogs, forums, Twitter posts and Facebook fan pages you can respond to. It’s easier than ever to reach out to your brands, and faster than ever to get a sense of whether their open to conversation. WestJet (an airline in Canada, for our out-of-country friends) has a twitter profile staffed by three people just waiting to answer any questions or handle any concerns. Microsoft has a team of people surfing blogs and responding when appropriate. Not all companies are in the social media space, and not all those that are there are using it well. But those who truly care are out there, and they’re waiting to have a conversation with you. Engage the brands you’re most passionate about and start to build relationships. The social media world is too new to know where this is going, but imagine the possibilities.

Join our newsletter

Sign up for the very best book summaries right to your inbox.
We care about your data in our privacy policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Insight #2

Be an Oligarch

"Emergence doesn't occur until a 'What if?' conversation happens, either internally for an individual or collectively for a group."- Brand New World, page 43

Things are changing. We know this. In fact, virtually every book we’ve covered in the past six months hits on this in some capacity. But what to do about it? Lenderman has a partial answer in examining the (relatively) recent success of Russian Oligarchs.

Oligarchs are becoming billionaires because they’re constantly thinking forward. They’re finding ways to take setbacks and turn them into massive gains. Lenderman talks about Russian Standard – a vodka company that had a crisis when the government put a ban on vodka advertisements. So what does Standard owner Roustam Tariko do? Creates the Russian Standard Bank – with branding identical to his vodka brand – and then marketed the bank like crazy. Not only has Russian Standard Vodka become the most consumed vodka in Russia, but the bank now has 20 million customers and issues nearly 80% of all credit cards in Russia. (pg33) Not bad for a side business.

The lessons to take away from the Oligarchs is that anything is possible, so long as you’re open to possibilities. Lenderman explains:

“When two seemingly incompatible things are combined, new links between the two are likely to be discovered. Psychologists call the result of this process ’emergence’, and confirm that the more dissimilarity there is between the two products, the more potential there is for emergence.”

Are you putting yourself in situations that allow for emergence? Are you having the conversations about “What If?”, or are you simply “doing”? Ground breaking innovation and success go to those who take time out to ask the right questions.

Read the book

Get Brand New World on Amazon.

Max Lenderman

Max Lenderman is Director of OuterActive at Crispin, Porter + Bogusky. The agency has more than one billion in billings and is one of the most awarded agencies in the world.He is also the former Executive Creative Director at GMR Marketing, the largest experiential marketing company in North America, where his work has won numerous industry recognitions, the latest including the 2009 Effie Award and the 2007, 2008 and 2009 Ex Awards.After returning from the US Peace Corps where he drilled wells in Chad, Lenderman began his career in New York City as a marketing journalist for a number of leading trade magazines such as Cable World, Beverage World, Impact and Periscope. He also contributed frequently to youth lifestyle magazines such as High Times, Pop Smear and Hemperor.In 1999, he founded and helmed Gearwerx Experiential Marketing, one of the first experiential agencies in Canada, with offices in Montreal and Toronto.Lenderman’s breakthrough publication, Experience the Message: How Experiential Marketing is Changing the Brand World, was a Business Book of the Year Finalist in 2006 and has been cited as “the best book on experiential marketing” available.His latest book, Brand New World: How Oligarchs, Paupers and Pirates Are Changing Business, was published by HarperCollins in April 2009.Lenderman is a founding board member of the International Experiential Marketing Association (IXMA) and is a sought-after public speaker, media commentator and blogger on the subjects of strategic branding, experiential marketing and emerging global business trends.He is a former columnist for Strategy Magazine, and is currently a contributor to Promo and Chief Marketer magazines. His popular blog is found at

Subscribe to digest
Read about our privacy policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.