The Big Idea

Corporate identity is rarely described as sensuous or emotional. Buying a product is rarely considered an organic experience. Yet Robert Jones soon makes us feel comfortable with these terms as he launches an impressive argument for the importance of ‘feeling’ in the 21st century marketplace.

Jones’ claims organisations require more than mission statements and management strategy to engage our interest and trust. He asserts the importance of a central emotional theme – a big idea – to an organisation’s impact.

Virgin, for instance, wins an optimum five stars at the end of the book for its idea, iconoclasm, which Jones calls ‘a youthful idea that continues to be irresistible to an ageing population’. Virgin, he claims, can continue to branch out into any industry it likes because people – employees and customers alike – buy into the feeling that it is taking on the establishment.

This is a groundbreaking thesis and deserves a wide readership. Jones writes accessibly and stresses the relevance of the emotional market to both corporations and consumers. However, instead of pursuing the implications of his significant concept, Jones splashes about instead. His continuous reiteration of the book’s core theme and failure to sufficiently develop its content make for a frustrating read. The ‘big idea’ might have fared better on a smaller scale.

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