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Ten years of research uncover the secret source of growth and profit … Those who center their business on improving people’s lives have a growth rate triple that of competitors and outperform the market by a huge margin. They dominate their categories, create new categories and maximize profit in the long term. Pulling from a unique ten year growth study involving 50,000 brands, Jim Stengel shows how the world's 50 best businesses—as diverse as Method, Red Bull, Lindt, Petrobras, Samsung, Discovery Communications, Visa, Zappos, and Innocent—have a cause and effect relationship between financial performance and their ability to connect with fundamental human emotions, hopes, values and greater purposes. In fact, over the 2000s an investment in these companies—“The Stengel 50”—would have been 400 percent more profitable than an investment in the S&P 500. Grow is based on unprecedented empirical research, inspired (when Stengel was Global Marketing Officer of Procter & Gamble) by a study of companies growing faster than P&G. After leaving P&G in 2008, Stengel designed a new study, in collaboration with global research firm Millward Brown Optimor. This study tracked the connection over a ten year period between financial performance and customer engagement, loyalty and advocacy. Then, in a further investigation of what goes on in the “black box” of the consumer’s mind, Stengel and his team tapped into neuroscience research to look at customer engagement and measure subconscious attitudes to determine whether the top businesses in the Stengel Study were more associated with higher ideals than were others. Grow thus deftly blends timeless truths about human behavior and values into an action framework – how you discover, build, communicate, deliver and evaluate your ideal. Through colorful stories drawn from his fascinating personal experiences and “deep dives” that bring out the true reasons for such successes as the Pampers, HP, Discovery Channel, Jack Daniels and Zappos, Grow unlocks the code for twenty-first century business success.
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High growth companies aren't just in it for the money-they're trying to change the world. In fact, if you have the aim of improving people's lives and place that squarely at the heart of everything you do, then you will be following the same pattern of success great companies which outperform the market are applying. As counter intuitive as it may sound, the best way to grow is not to go after growth directly but to have the primary aim of improving your customers lives. Ideals are the ultimate growth driver. So how do you leverage an ideal to drive growth? The five must-do's are:
“Maximum growth and high ideals are not incompatible. They’re inseparable. The data from a ten-year-growth study of more than 10,000 brands around the world show that companies with ideals of improving people’s lives at the center of all they do outperform the market by a huge margin. The counter intuitive fact is that doing the right thing in your business is doing the right thing for your business. Those that embrace that fact are the ones that dominate their categories, create new categories, and maximize profit in the long term." — Jim Stengel
In order to figure out why some companies grow faster and more consistently than others, a ten year study was carried out of 50,000 brands from around the world. The best performing brands were grouped into a “Top-50” cluster and then analyzed in depth. Impressively, these Top-50 companies generated returns on investment which were on average 400 percent better than the performance of the Standard ＆ Poor's 500 index over that ten year period.
The ten year time frame means the Top-50 companies are doing something right rather than getting a lucky break. It also suggests the Top-50 companies are doing something different as well. In trying to identify what it is these companies are doing right, it became clear great businesses always have inspiring brand ideals. Put another way, Top-50 companies are on a mission to change the world. This conclusion comes about as the result of four distinctive findings of the ten year study:
Finding 1 The Top-50 are all driven by strong brand ideals
All of the Top-50 companies have the aim of improving the lives of their customers in some profound way which is appropriate for their industry. They are idealistic:
■Accenture exists to help people accelerate ideas to achieve their dreams.
■Amazon.com exists to enable freedom of choice, exploration, and discovery.
■Coca-Cola exists to inspire moments of happiness.
■Discovery Communications exists to satisfy people's curiosity about their world and the universe.
■FedEx exists to deliver peace of mind to everyday interactions.
■HP exists to foster the human capacity to innovate, progress.
■IBM exists to help build a smarter planet.
■Jack Daniel's exists to celebrate and evoke pride in personal authenticity, independence, and integrity.
■MasterCard exists to make the world of commerce simpler and more flexible.
■Red Bull exists to energize the world.
■Samsung exists to inspire imagination and enrich lives in a world of limitless possibilities.
■Starbucks exists to create connections for self-discovery and inspiration.
Finding 2 The Top-50 are run by business leaders who are artists at using brand ideals
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