Back in the summer I read an enjoyable book that I tweeted about regularly. The book is called Grow by Jim Stengel and chronicles the author’s insights on the link between a company’s financial performance and its communication of fundamental human ideals. Based both on Stengel’s experience as a global marketing officer at Proctor & Gamble and a ten-year growth study of over 50,000 company brands, the book argues that financial performance connects significantly with the deep customer engagement springing from a brand’s alignment with core human ideals in the areas of eliciting joy, enabling connection, inspiring exploration, evoking pride, and impacting society. The most successful companies in the study – the so-called Stengel 50 – effectively engaged in five key activities:
- Discovering a brand ideal of improving people’s lives in one of the five fields of fundamental human values.
- Building their organizational culture around the brand ideal.
- Communicating the brand ideal to engage employees and customers.
- Delivering a near-ideal customer experience.
- Evaluating their progress and people against the brand ideal. (see page 21 of Grow)
If you followed my tweets while I was reading this book, you know how much it resonated with me (and how applicable much of the material was to the company where I currently work). Weaving together in-depth discussions of specific companies, insights from neuroscience, personal experiences, and the data gleaned from thorough research, Stengel presents a compelling portrait of how companies can generate the kind of customer and employee engagement that produces consistent and lasting success. The book was also easy to read without being superficial.
There is a lot more I could say about the insights of this book. If you’ve read it and want to discuss it further feel free to get in touch. If you haven’t read it but are interested in how pursuing values can connect with successful corporate growth then I encourage you to check this book out. You can find or follow the author on Twitter @JimStengel to keep up with his thinking. Find the book here or elsewhere if you’d like. And if you have any thoughts of your own about the book or this topic please post them in the comments. Thanks.