We then discussed different products: Could you add emotional value to any product? What about bottled water? Yes, if you brand the bottled water, then you can sell it -- except if you know that tap water is an excellent product in most places in the United States, Canada and Denmark. But if you put it in bottles, you can demand a premium price -- actually several thousand percent if you call it "Perrier" or what have you. These and many other examples are an indication that we are leaving the rational, logical, scientific Information Age, and gradually approaching a society oriented toward values and emotion. I would suggest people in the rich part of the world -- I'm only talking about the rich part of the world here -- are standing with one foot in the Information Age and the other foot in what I've called the "dream society." Gradually we are moving the last foot away from the Information Age. I would say it is moving like a glacier, slowly but surely.

Q: This might explain the anti-globalization movement ? as this is an interesting example of widespread political mobilization. Without arguing the merits of the case they make, it seems to me much of the actual support is not too well thought out. Rather it seemed a shift in values and emotional judgments were driving the protests as much any real empirical information.

A: Yes, I guess so, because you have a declining belief in authority. That's what you see in different value surveys -- that just because this politician, this police officer, this professor, this expert says such and such, we no longer believe it outright. We allow ourselves to disagree. That is the trend in North America. It is the trend in Europe. So when presented with these rational arguments saying globalization is good for you, people allow themselves to disagree and say, "Maybe it's not."

At one time, for instance, people were told they needed nuclear power because the oil is running out. A lot of people accepted that, thinking the authorities must know better. But as time has gone on, more and more people are saying, "I don't care what this professor says. I don't like the idea of nuclear power." Now comes globalization, and all the suits are saying, "This will be good for you." And people react and say, "We are not so sure."

Q: In The Dream Society you brought all this down to the importance of storytelling in marketing. You mentioned the idea, for instance, that in this coming age it's the company telling the best story or attaching the best story to their product that will win the marketing game.

A: The average citizen has become six or seven times richer during the past 100 years. That goes for Europe. That goes for North America. It may even be higher for the United States. But let's say seven times. Then we are on firm ground. That doesn't mean the end of materialism. But it means we are buying for emotional reasons a lot of the time. Of course, when we come home, we have to rationalize what we did. But the buying happens with our emotion. That would mean companies best at telling their story and appealing to emotion will win. In the last century, by and large, the best products won, the ones with the best features. But in this new century, the best story will win.

Q: So storytelling comes into it because traditionally that has been the medium that appeals directly to emotion? The essence of good storytelling is often said to be emotional appeal built on the values people respond to.

A: It goes beyond that. If you look at the Native Americans 200 or 300 years ago, they were

Blake Harris  |  Editor