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Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies

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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 b 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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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 b 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.

30 review for Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Haggerty

    As someone who studies business strategy, I take issue with Stengel’s claim to have found a novel way to understand successful brands. He says that top brands pursue ideals and are therefore successful. I would say top brands have strong business strategy and are therefore successful. Call it ideals, call it strong business strategy, it’s all the same and it’s been written about for decades. Not hugely eye-opening in terms of lessons for companies. My favorite parts of the book were his anecdote As someone who studies business strategy, I take issue with Stengel’s claim to have found a novel way to understand successful brands. He says that top brands pursue ideals and are therefore successful. I would say top brands have strong business strategy and are therefore successful. Call it ideals, call it strong business strategy, it’s all the same and it’s been written about for decades. Not hugely eye-opening in terms of lessons for companies. My favorite parts of the book were his anecdotes from his career, especially about failed projects and turnarounds while at P&G.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alberto Lopez

    Very interesting book. It starts with appealing branding concepts and follows with several interesting business anecdotes. I wish the book would have gone a little deeper into data but will assume that the author will follow it with further research now that he has left business to join the academic world.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    It's not really a memoir, but there was a lot of ego involved in this book and much of Stengel's career is charted here. The examples were interesting, but the execution was a little dry, if that makes sense. It's not really a memoir, but there was a lot of ego involved in this book and much of Stengel's career is charted here. The examples were interesting, but the execution was a little dry, if that makes sense.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Francisco Lima

    The book reflects on how human values should always be at the core of any successful enterprise, providing interesting examples.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Egan

    Great read on how the top brands approach marketing. Very helpful guide!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Martha Garcia

    Pursue a higher purpose; he provides a diagram where to plan, 5 purposes to chose from, and examples on how they work.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emre G

    How data centric big companies lose their directions and how a machinery and financials become inefective without ideals.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jerome

    If you've read anything about starting a business, you've see the terms "mission statement" and "vision statement". And if you've run a business, you know that no matter how much effort goes into crafting a mission and vision, both are easily forgotten when the real work begins. Jim Stengel's Grow teaches about using ideals instead. The ideals statement is the driving force behind the brand and can serve as a litmus test for all decisions from customer service to marketing. A company driven by an If you've read anything about starting a business, you've see the terms "mission statement" and "vision statement". And if you've run a business, you know that no matter how much effort goes into crafting a mission and vision, both are easily forgotten when the real work begins. Jim Stengel's Grow teaches about using ideals instead. The ideals statement is the driving force behind the brand and can serve as a litmus test for all decisions from customer service to marketing. A company driven by an ideal statement can establish a culture that permeates from the employees out to the customers. Stengel uses his research to support the hypothesis that company competitiveness is linked to a commitment to serve a higher purpose. In order to grow, we must look beyond the typical charts, graphs, and Powerpoint presentations and ask, "Why do we exist? What would our customers lose if we disappeared tomorrow?" As another reviewer mentioned, you have to get past Stengel's self-promotion. It also helps to know a little bit about Procter and Gamble culture, as multiple references to P&G are made throughout. This book is usable by a global audience and I found examples that pertain to companies in developing countries just as much as they pertain to those in the United States. Likewise, the concepts and methods are applicable to companies small and large. The book makes sense of all the warm and fuzzy brand-speak that I once shunned. As it explains early on, all that soft stuff is actually the hard stuff. After reading Grow, even numbers oriented business stakeholders will be ready to tackle the soft stuff and make it part of daily life.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carla

    I read this book as audio book in the car on my way to work. This works fine, except that I won't recall all details of the book. Jim Stengel found in his years at Proctor and Gamble as marketing director how important brand is and in particular what he calls "ideal brand". He gives a lot of insight in how he used that (or better: how he got a better understanding of this concept) during his career with different P&G companies. I found this learning part most interesting. Someone may see it as a I read this book as audio book in the car on my way to work. This works fine, except that I won't recall all details of the book. Jim Stengel found in his years at Proctor and Gamble as marketing director how important brand is and in particular what he calls "ideal brand". He gives a lot of insight in how he used that (or better: how he got a better understanding of this concept) during his career with different P&G companies. I found this learning part most interesting. Someone may see it as a pet on his own back, but I don't think so. He tells about the struggles and it's not all a good story and yes, he is successful at some point but also shares his learning. After his P&G career, Stengel keeps on studying the "ideal brand" concept. This goes deeper than "we want to make the best product", but more towards "we want to make a product that improves people's life". This influences the culture and direction setting of the company, which makes a link to what the customers see (the product and brand) and the roots of the company (culture). Very inspiring!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Della S.white

    If you can work past some of the "chest thumping" that Stengel does, there are some interesting ideas in this book that are worth considering. This e-book was sent to me from a friend, whose a part of a speaker's bureau to promote Stengel as a speaker, hence the self-promotion. But, to my surprise,Stengel does have something to say. The basic premise is that companies that build their business model and marketing around ideals will outperform those that do not. He categorizes the ideals that can If you can work past some of the "chest thumping" that Stengel does, there are some interesting ideas in this book that are worth considering. This e-book was sent to me from a friend, whose a part of a speaker's bureau to promote Stengel as a speaker, hence the self-promotion. But, to my surprise,Stengel does have something to say. The basic premise is that companies that build their business model and marketing around ideals will outperform those that do not. He categorizes the ideals that can be the basis for the model and marketing. He qualifies his argument noting that other traditional business measures and process matter, too. I read this book thinking about how the ideas would relate to a non-profit, since that is the world I'm moving more towards. There were many applications. Definitely will be used as one of my "go-to" reference guides for setting up my future business model. Well worth considering what Stengel has to say.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Dent

    There are a few interesting business stories in here mostly originating from authors experiences at P&G (Pampers, JIF Peanut Butter, various Czech P&G examples). The stories mostly come from a product marketing/branding perspective with sprinkle of management and customer relations (b2b and consumer). The underlying message is to find the "brand ideal" to inspire employees and customers. It's a old idea I've heard packaged in many forms (finding "noble purpose" is synonym from Lisa McLeod). Some There are a few interesting business stories in here mostly originating from authors experiences at P&G (Pampers, JIF Peanut Butter, various Czech P&G examples). The stories mostly come from a product marketing/branding perspective with sprinkle of management and customer relations (b2b and consumer). The underlying message is to find the "brand ideal" to inspire employees and customers. It's a old idea I've heard packaged in many forms (finding "noble purpose" is synonym from Lisa McLeod). Some of the later examples felt weaker mainly because they were not first hand and they're common in recent business books (Zappos, Apple, Netflix, etc). Overall I'm having hard time thinking of any idea or concept here that was new, let alone ground breaking or inspiring. Overall it's average business book and slightly genetic in terms of the business philosophy and messages. Section about Jack Daniels was new to me and interesting.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Isaacson

    I really enjoyed this, a worthwhile read. The content is excellent and I completely agree with his ideas. His impressive experience and thorough research substantiate the ideas well, he convinced me! The style was frustrating at times. To broaden that point, the audience is very small and I'm not in it. It felt like Stengel was writing to fellow titans of industry, which is why to some Goodreads reviewers he came off as arrogant (understandably). I didn't mind that, but some will. Also, it's defi I really enjoyed this, a worthwhile read. The content is excellent and I completely agree with his ideas. His impressive experience and thorough research substantiate the ideas well, he convinced me! The style was frustrating at times. To broaden that point, the audience is very small and I'm not in it. It felt like Stengel was writing to fellow titans of industry, which is why to some Goodreads reviewers he came off as arrogant (understandably). I didn't mind that, but some will. Also, it's definitely a business book written to business people, with chapters ending like "in the next chapter I will discuss..." type of stuff. Again, that's fine but you have to be the right audience. I personally prefer more attention to transitions & more trust in the patience of the reader but it's all about the audience. In conclusion: Great ideas, so-so style.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Roger Haskins

    It was a good book in terms of the general power of branding, but was misplaced in the cause and effect of that role in growth. Branding is huge in creating a successful business and when done by the best, the rewards of that effort are obvious. The problem I have here is that in terms of an economic indicator, this would be a lagging indicator. The power of a brand is an aftereffect of all the time, money, energy establishing that brand. So I would suggest the work spent cultivating the reliabl It was a good book in terms of the general power of branding, but was misplaced in the cause and effect of that role in growth. Branding is huge in creating a successful business and when done by the best, the rewards of that effort are obvious. The problem I have here is that in terms of an economic indicator, this would be a lagging indicator. The power of a brand is an aftereffect of all the time, money, energy establishing that brand. So I would suggest the work spent cultivating the reliable and consistent branded experience does have a positive return on the investment, but that return is measured in years if not decades. So if the author looks to make the argument that work is the cause of growth, then it should be understood that there will need to be a fair amount of patience to wait for said growth.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    If you can work past some of the "chest thumping" that Stengel does, there are some interesting ideas in this book that are worth considering. The book was sent to me from a speaker's bureau to promote Stengel as a speak, hence the self-promotion. But Stengel does have something to say. The basic premise is that companies that build their business model and marketing around ideals will outperform those that do not. He categorizes the ideals that can be the basis for the model and marketing. He qu If you can work past some of the "chest thumping" that Stengel does, there are some interesting ideas in this book that are worth considering. The book was sent to me from a speaker's bureau to promote Stengel as a speak, hence the self-promotion. But Stengel does have something to say. The basic premise is that companies that build their business model and marketing around ideals will outperform those that do not. He categorizes the ideals that can be the basis for the model and marketing. He qualifies his argument noting that other traditional business measures and process matter, too. I read this book thinking about how the ideas would relate to a non-profit, since that is the world I work in. There were many applications. Well worth considering what Stengel has to say.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    This book is a fantastic thought provoker and helps you really think about how you want to craft a business or product that actually means something. I am fully with Jim on his thoughts about business going forward. People are already selecting and will select products and services that go beyond just the product and the price. He talks about how people are looking to connect with a business at an emotional level. I think anyone that is trying to craft a vision for where they want to take a busi This book is a fantastic thought provoker and helps you really think about how you want to craft a business or product that actually means something. I am fully with Jim on his thoughts about business going forward. People are already selecting and will select products and services that go beyond just the product and the price. He talks about how people are looking to connect with a business at an emotional level. I think anyone that is trying to craft a vision for where they want to take a business or a product needs to read this book. We need more people managing companies that think in this way rather than the "get rich quick and dump a shitty company" mentality.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ben Handler

    A very intriguing book with some very interesting and thought provocative research/theories on why certain brands outperform the majority. I did find the book sometimes monotonous and slow. Jim Stengel was CMO at Procter and Gamble (P&G) and whilst he interacted with the best brands in the world, he was so fascinated as to why certain brands leap ahead of others. Jim actually left P&G and joined force with a group (Millward Brown) who specialises in rating the worlds best brands. The book is very A very intriguing book with some very interesting and thought provocative research/theories on why certain brands outperform the majority. I did find the book sometimes monotonous and slow. Jim Stengel was CMO at Procter and Gamble (P&G) and whilst he interacted with the best brands in the world, he was so fascinated as to why certain brands leap ahead of others. Jim actually left P&G and joined force with a group (Millward Brown) who specialises in rating the worlds best brands. The book is very purpose driven and extremely insightful for anyone who is a leader in a organisation, aspires to be a leader and has the ability to create change across an organisation

  17. 5 out of 5

    Monica Villa

    I didn't finish listening to this on audio because my loan ran out and I'm just not pulled in enough to check it out again. I love the message about choosing an ideal for your business to run from, but I wasn't even halfway through and it was already like beating a dead horse...there were repeated promises about sharing techniques, etc, but at that point I already didn't feel like I had taken enough away from it. I didn't finish listening to this on audio because my loan ran out and I'm just not pulled in enough to check it out again. I love the message about choosing an ideal for your business to run from, but I wasn't even halfway through and it was already like beating a dead horse...there were repeated promises about sharing techniques, etc, but at that point I already didn't feel like I had taken enough away from it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Theodore Kinni

    Stengel, former CMO of P&G, spearheaded an eye-opening 10-year growth study of 50,000 companies which reveals that those with a 'brand ideal' that is focused on improving its customers' lives in one or more of five ways outperformed the S&P 500 by 393%. His book, which will be out in December, details why and how. Stengel, former CMO of P&G, spearheaded an eye-opening 10-year growth study of 50,000 companies which reveals that those with a 'brand ideal' that is focused on improving its customers' lives in one or more of five ways outperformed the S&P 500 by 393%. His book, which will be out in December, details why and how.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    thought this might be another collins book, but was pleasantly surprised by the depth of insight and transferable learnings. a gem that i'll surely return to study more thoroughly. must read for any brand marketer. thought this might be another collins book, but was pleasantly surprised by the depth of insight and transferable learnings. a gem that i'll surely return to study more thoroughly. must read for any brand marketer.

  20. 5 out of 5

    M

    There are business books you skim, others you read, and others you read and keep as a reference. This book is the latter. A consummate handbook for building and maintaining brand strategy and reputation.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    Some of the stories about companies and the way they hope to be seen by consumers were interesting. Here's a tip from the book. After meetings, ask yourself, “What did we learn? What could we do better? Are we excited about the outcome?” Some of the stories about companies and the way they hope to be seen by consumers were interesting. Here's a tip from the book. After meetings, ask yourself, “What did we learn? What could we do better? Are we excited about the outcome?”

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sayre

    An incredibly effective way to identify and realize your brand in a way that authentically engages your clients/customers; much more effective than branding around inanimate objects - i.e., "We're like a Volvo..." An incredibly effective way to identify and realize your brand in a way that authentically engages your clients/customers; much more effective than branding around inanimate objects - i.e., "We're like a Volvo..."

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    I really enjoyed this book - it's changed the way that I look at companies and their purpose in today's economy. I really enjoyed this book - it's changed the way that I look at companies and their purpose in today's economy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Reggie

    It helps me understand how great businesses become great

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    was really just this guy talking about his work at proctor and gamble, really got nothing out of it. A struggle to get through and I was listening to it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    CJ

    His resume is not as interesting as the business lessons.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jon Kinning

    Author is quite proud of himself. I couldn't make it through this book or past him promoting himself and how smart he is. I punted after 100 pages and I rarely punt. Author is quite proud of himself. I couldn't make it through this book or past him promoting himself and how smart he is. I punted after 100 pages and I rarely punt.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Zaved

    It's really an easy reading book and talks about how we need to do good central to what we do for our consumers and customers and make money out of it. Loved it. It's really an easy reading book and talks about how we need to do good central to what we do for our consumers and customers and make money out of it. Loved it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura Skladzinski

    Some good ideas, but also a lot of stuff that works in theory but might not work in practice.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Inspiring approach to business success - ideal based branding. Would rate 3.5.

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