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Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies [Kindle Edition]

Jim Stengel
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $27.50
Kindle Price: $10.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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.




From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"In seven years as global marketing officer of Procter & Gamble, Jim Stengel was influenced by celebrated management writers such as Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, and Stephen Covey ... Grow stands a chance of becoming a similarly influential text for a new generation of executives" Financial Times "By combining a scientist's rigor with a storyteller's gifts, Jim Stengel has produced a brilliant, must-read book supremely suited to our times" Arianna Huffington "When you start reading Grow, you may well feel a little sceptical about the ideal and its bottom-line value. But you'll soon become intrigued - and then utterly convinced. Jim Stengel shares his beliefs and his experience with a generosity bordering on the reckless; and has the hard, clean numbers to bear his teachings out" Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP "A new, powerful model for business. ... A must-read ... for all business leaders" Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook "Grow is a tool kit for turning the power of ideals...into competitive advantage and sustainable growth" Robert A. McDonald, chairman, president, and CEO, Procter & Gamble

About the Author

Jim Stengel was the director of marketing at P&G for twenty-five years and is the founder of the Jim Stengel Company, a consulting firm. He is also a professor of marketing at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1350 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business (December 27, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4XGNG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,809 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad science, no practical value December 28, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Roman Generals used to consult the pecking patterns of chickens to decide whether to go into battle or not. According to Stengel's method this was the reason for the success of the Roman Army in its day.

Four second-year MBA students looked only at 50 top performing firms to see if they had, in their opinion, strong ideals (as their instructors believed). Unsurprisingly they 'discovered' what their instructors told them would exist (page 34).

Marketing consultant Jim Stengel seems a nice guy, he wants us to be passionate about our business and to feel that there is a greater purpose than simply making money. Few would disagree. But he also claims to have discovered the secret to sustained super profits - based on a flawed study dressed up as science. The`Stengel Study' makes the same mistakes as earlier pop management books that claimed to uncover the secret of sustained financial success. Professor Philip Rosenzweig's "The Halo Effect: ... and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers" exposes these mistakes.

To detect factors that might cause financial success Stengel should at least compared carefully matched samples of both successful and unsuccessful firms, and developed hard objective measures of strategy - not relied almost entirely on interviews with experts. Also, to avoid confirmation bias, the researchers who described the firms and their strategies should not have been aware of which were the successful and unsuccessful ones. And finally, any resulting theories should be tested against the future performance of the firms. Otherwise what looks like science turns out to be simply a story.

This book doesn't predict which company will do well, and already a number of Stengel's outstanding 'ideal-driven' companies have floundered.

The success of brands (and the large corporations behind them) is far more complex than Stengel's book and its predecessors claim.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Case Studies January 18, 2012
Format:Hardcover
For readers of "Built to Last, " "Grow" offers nothing new. This book also argues that business success requires a leader's ability to articulate a vision, build the company and brand around that vision. What this book does offer are a lot of useful case studies as well as anecdotes that illuminate the main messages.

The main fault with this book is like any business book it tries to distill the formula for business success into a general formula that can be applied everywhere. A great business is great because of great people, and great people are rare -- and that's just an unfortunate fact of life.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Jim Stengel begins the first chapter with two separate but related questions: "What makes a business grow beyond the competition? What powers an enterprise to the top and keep it there?" In response, he offers "a new framework" whose central principle is the importance of having a brand ideal. That is, a shared goal of improving people's lives. A brand ideal is s business' essential reason for being, the higher order it brings to the world."

If this seems a tad idealistic, if not naïve, consider the fact that recent research, including a ten-year growth study Stengel conducted of more than 50,000 [that's correct: 50,000] brands around the world, revealed the need for the framework that Stengel devised. So what? The data from his study indicates that companies with ideals of improving lives at the center of all they do outperform the market by a huge margin. For example, the return on an investment in the top 50 companies in his study would have been 400% more than an investment in the Standard & Poor's 500.

A key term in Stengel's book is what he calls the "Ideal Factor," one that keeps renewing and strengthening great businesses through good times and bad. Having a brand ideal "is the only sustainable way to recruit, unite, and inspire all the people a business touches, from empl9iyees to customers. It is the only thing that enduringly connects the core beliefs of the people inside a business with the fundamental human values of the people the business serves. Without that connection, without a brand ideal, no business can excel"...or survive.

Stengel focuses most of his attention in the book on explaining HOW to achieve a number of specific objectives. They include

o How to discover an ideal in one of five fields of fundamental human values (i.e.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purpose driven marketing is important and real January 10, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I just finished reading GROW and found it both inspirational and practical. Stengel does a good job of relating 'ideals' and 'purpose' to any business, not just cause related ventures. This topic of 'ideals driven' or 'purpose driven' brands and organizations is being talked about a lot recently, but I believe we're seeing just the beginning of a wave of businesses waking up to the importance of this trend. Only someone with the experience of being P&G's CMO can pull off these proclamations with credibility.

Jim provides a great balance of case studies from inspirational companies in his 'Stengel 50' in addition to very personal stories from his own challenging and rewarding career at P&G. The only criticism I have is that Stengel could have done more to emphasize the importance of social networks and tools in empowering consumers to connect with brands and create two-way conversations (he includes this, but IMHO it deserved more focus).

The move toward ideals or purpose driven organizations is gaining momentum in many fronts. You can see it among aging boomers... from angel investors backing socially-impactful start-ups, to second-careers in areas that matter to improving peoples' lives. I also see this with the emerging generation of young professionals who bring to the workplace a much stronger commitment (earlier in their career than I found out) to the importance of purpose and balance. Both of these cohorts are going to be important enablers of the 'ideals powered brands' that Jim is espousing.

I highly recommend this book to any business professional looking for inspiration, and especially to senior level marketers and general managers who need help in re-igniting their brands and organizations for long term success.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The right perspective on the importance of your people
I like reading good business books and I love when they allude to the importance of hiring and keeping the right team. GROW by Jim Stengel has several passages I found valuable. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jim_Roddy
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful addition to the marketing literature
Stengel is a bright marketer and made a big difference to P&G's brand management. There's nothing earth-shattering in the book, and I sense he would have benefited from better... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jeff
5.0 out of 5 stars a text on branding
This is an excellent and insightful book about what it means to develop quality brand values that permeate every aspect of a company's operations and consumer interactions. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Rodgers L. Harper
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new and largely self-serving
This book is about a topic I'm personally passionate about - an ideals based business. Mr Stengel has a very high opinion of himself and therefore the book is filled with anecdotes... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Kim
4.0 out of 5 stars Same Recommendations, Different way of looking at it.
This book provides the same basic recommendations to enhance your business as any other with may good points. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jimmy Z
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this -- using the structure in work
I've always been fascinated by the linkage between culture and a company's brand strength. Jim Stengel and team have arrived at a great structure for defining various purposes... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jennifer Beardsley
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book
It's heartening to know that building a great business doesn't have to be about just a single bottom line. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Bernadette Jiwa
5.0 out of 5 stars Grew my thinking about brands
What a well thought approach to thinking about living your brand. Jim's experience and insight are invaluable. Worth your time to learn more.
Published 21 months ago by MSCasady
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will make you rethink your business purpose
Jim Stengel presents a very vivid case for building a business based on ideals that connect with people. Read more
Published 22 months ago by John Ellett, author, The CMO Manifesto
5.0 out of 5 stars So great
This book inspired and energized me. I used up an entire highlighter and dog-eared every other page. My new goal: meet Jim Stengel.
Published 24 months ago by Elke Govertsen
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More About the Author

As global marketing officer from 2001 to 2008, Jim Stengel led the effort to leverage higher ideals in brands throughout Procter & Gamble. Since 2008, he has been CEO of The Jim Stengel Company, a think tank and consultancy conducting proprietary research, generating thought leadership, and applying his ideals-driven framework to drive business growth in today's global economy. He is also an adjunct professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and serves on the Board of Directors for AOL. Jim has been published in Harvard Business Review and was named to Fortune magazine's Executive Dream Team in 2011. Jim and his wife, Kathleen, live in Cincinnati, Ohio and Coronado, California.

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