Thursday, January 19, 2012

Good for Growth

Jim Stengel was a client of Saatchi & Saatchi’s when he was for seven years the Global Marketing Officer of Procter & Gamble during the decade in which AG Lafley as CEO doubled the revenue of the company. They were heady times, and “heady” is not a word you often associate with P&G. Jim was the guy who opened the company out, emotionalized it, gave its inner soul an outer skin. He championed the purpose-inspired mantra “Touching Life, Improving Lives.” Since 2008 Jim has been charting a purpose-filled post-career career as a teacher, a high level consultant, and now as an author of a book with an appropriately simple and beautiful title “Grow”. The subtitle is “How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies.” I’m in the Ideas Business; Jim’s in Ideals. No big difference, in fact on the same path.

I have a fundamental belief that the role of business is to make the world a better place. Jim’s expression is “improving the lives of the people a business serves.” He has teamed with data crunchers Millward Brown to produce the “Stengel 50” – a ranking of 50 companies that have exponentially improved their profits by dedicating themselves to improving the lives of customers. Win-Win. His top 50 have generated a traditional ROI of 400% better than S&P. It’s a similar metric to the validation work QiQ did with Lovemarks ie substantial margin accrues to producers who completely empathize with consumers and answer convincingly their killer question: “How will you improve my life?”

Coincidentally, Jim and I were both born in a town called Lancaster, him in Pennsylvania, me in England. We were hip-to-hip on a cadre of P&G campaigns and now we’re simpatico with Ideas and Ideals. We need to regenerate growth, and Grow by Jim Stengel is a great place to start.

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