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BMA 2012: Stengel sees 'new narrative' based on ideals

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Chicago—“Is business broken? Is everything OK, or do we have issues?” asked Jim Stengel, formerly CMO at Procter & Gamble Co. and now head of his own marketing consultancy, during his presentation at the BMA Annual Conference Wednesday. “Just 19% of Americans have confidence in big business—the lowest it's ever been—according to the Gallup Organization, “ said Stengel, author of “Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies” (Crown Business, 2011). He said corporate culture, specifically corporate ideals, can provide companies with profound competitive advantages. “I truly believe this is a time for a new narrative,” Stengel said. “Those companies that are thriving are writing this new narrative.” Stengel's book details companies that have built a corporate culture based on specific ideals. They include Apple Inc., Dell Inc., FedEx Corp. and P&G. “Great brands are led by what I call "artists' who care and have a high emotional intelligence,” he said. This produces a corporate culture that works to “change people's lives.” “Whether you call it mission, purpose, higher calling or ideals, all these companies have that at their base,” Stengel said. “They are all more ideal-based than their competition, and this has a direct impact on purchase intent.” Stengel urged marketers to ask themselves five questions: What ideal do they stand for; how does it activate the corporate culture; how do they communicate it inside and outside the company; how are they delivering the experience; and how is it being evaluated? The process pays off, Stengel said. His research found that companies that base their corporate culture on ideals have outperformed the S&P 500 stock index by 400% over the past 10 years.
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