Comprehensive Interaction Design
This is treating a symptom. The path to passionate users is through comprehensive interaction design. Involving designers that know a brand’s personality is certainly a step forward, but she should be calling for a more holistic approach.
Every experience the customer has with a brand defines their relationship with it, and no interaction is more important than with the product itself. So if there’s an opportunity for “marketing” to help, it’s in product design. The interaction designers, those who solve the problems of interfacing with humans, should have input at every touchpoint with the customer.
I do not mean to say that marketing should take over design through business. Rather, let’s recognize that marketers have often been the first to directly concern themselves with customers’ reactions to their work. Rather than uniquely qualifying them to manage those interactions, that might just mean their department might not even need to exist. In a world of comprehensive interaction design, maybe the PR department’s communications with the market are more valuable than designing broadcast messages (as John Dodds might have it).