"Maximum profit and high ideals are not incompatible. They're inseparable. Companies with ideals of improving lives at the center of all they do outperform the market by a huge margin."
– Jim Stengel, author of GROW: How Ideals Power Growth
and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies
Our journey with Jim Stengel began when we worked as his advisors while he was global marketing officer of Procter & Gamble. After leaving P&G in 2008, Jim came to us to partner with him and the UCLA Anderson School of Management to design a groundbreaking study that would ultimately uncover the secret source of growth and profit at the world’s 50 best businesses.
By going beyond empirical data, studying more than 50,000 brands from around the world and employing recent developments in neuroscience to delve into “the black box” of the mind of the consumer, we discovered a direct link between financial performance and fundamental human values.
We found that those who centered their businesses on the ideal of improving people’s lives had a growth rate triple that of competitors in their categories. Moreover, an investment in the “Stengel 50,” the top 50 businesses in the growth study, would have been 400 percent more profitable than an investment in the S&P 500.
And thus the premise for GROW was born.
GROW deftly blends timeless truths about human values and behavior into an actionable framework revealing how to discover, build, communicate, deliver and evaluate brand ideals. It features colorful stories such as:
- How Pampers, a big but stagnant business, grew from $3.4 billion in sales to over $9 billion by moving away from an emphasis on functional benefits to an ideal of being a partner with mothers in the healthy, happy development of their babies.
- How the Discovery Channel—with its ideal of satisfying curiosity—grew from 156,000 to 1.5 billion subscribers and revenues of more than $4 billion.
- How method, the upstart, self-styled David-among-Goliaths—with its ideal of inspiring a happy, healthy revolution in household and personal care—continues to prosper and grow with its “green that really clean” products, while those of its giant multinational competitors have gone into a nosedive as consumers became extremely price conscious during the recession.
- How Motorola Solutions—which came into existence in January 2011— got off to a fast start after parent Motorola separated, behind an ideal that captured the hearts and minds of employees and customers.
Simply put, GROW unlocks the code for 21st century business success.