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on June 2, 2008
When I first leafed through this book, I thought it was a novel. How else could one interpret the fact that tables, figures and diagrams are just a small part of only the 10% of its total pages! Authors of scientific, marketing and management books have not used us to such a minimalism. J.C. talks substance, not visuals. Even for this reason, this book is exceptionally impressive. This "nothing less than exceptional growth" book smells strong, innovative thinking. It's a book on business total philosophy rather than a simply marketing or management text. It provides a sharp anatomy of things, supposedly known in a business enterprise, with the result that bold substance is revealed. Doing things right is not enough for Larreche. One has to do things exceptionally right. "Very satisfied customers" is not enough. Delighted customers should be the basic purpose of any business. Superb, total value to customers is running throughout the book. More revenues for less relative marketing expenditures is to look for. Anything else does not provide proof of the existence of momentum in a business firm. Larreche, a recognized expert of marketing, emphasizes its customer value building wisdom, rather than its routine functional elements commented about and stressed in all common marketing texts. This book, as product, provides the customer with real super value. It has been some time since I read a real best seller to be!
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on May 7, 2008
A lot of companies and agencies are pushing buzz words such as Customer Centric approach or Marketing 360°. The book from Jean-Claude Larreche is a great balance between strategy perspective and operational implications. It demonstrates that the success in creating value and momentum for growth is at the end of the day a cultural shift within companies. It offers a thinking platform and practical examples which are very useful to convince and address your customers and targets (internally and externally).

I strongly recommend this book for:
- Marketers who are looking for a holistic approach to review their customer focus strategy
- Consultants and agencies for reviewing their recommendations in light of what is driving success at the end of the day

I do not recommend this book for people who think that:
- They have the best product and brand in the world which is good enough to be sold by itself
- Decision makers for whom quarterly results is the main horizon for their strategy
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on April 27, 2008
If you've always wanted to know what made a book on a 13 year old's adventures become Harry Potter's 325 million selling success and like me you had the feeling there was more to it than just a good story but couldn't really tell what.

If you've always asked yourself how Apple managed to recover from its mid 1990's difficult years and become the worldwide record iPod and iPhone selling company it is today and thought there was more to it than just brilliant product development and smart advertising but still haven't quite worked out what.

If like me you've asked yourself how Virgin Airlines managed to make the difference in the highly competitive airline business challenging the greatest and had the feeling it wasn't just about the good marketing.

Well, if like me you want to find out how they did it and want to understand today's strategic challenges in business, reading Jean-Claude Larreche's The Momentum Effect will be the enlightening, eye opening, thrilling experience it has just been to me.

I just finished the book and having been involved with strategic marketing and business development for over 20 years, better than Kotler's Marketing Management and Porter's Competitive Advantage, Larreche's Momentum Effect will provide you today with the most enlightening research conducted on some outstanding business successes (Skype, WalMart, Ikea, etc) and will take you with a practical toolbox on a clear and simple roadmap to reach unbeatable growth and truely make the difference whatever your industry or business field may be.

Whilst reading JCL's The Momentum Effect, I was taking notes of all the changes and initiatives I could use (ex: growing vibrant customer retention and building a power offer). Implementation is starting now.
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on April 9, 2008
If you've ever had the feeling that when your boss says "our customers come first" what he really means is "our customers come first as long as serving them properly doesn't impact on profits, in which case, `give me the money'". This is the book you need.

He shows that once you've made your business efficient, the only way to grow is by creating offerings that generate profitable revenue - obvious I know but apparently not given some of the meetings I've sat through. More importantly, he shows the only way to do that is by really understating your customers - what makes them tick. Again, obvious but he points out that while most firms believe they understand their customers, very few really do.

I've always found the question "how much time have you spent with customers in the last month?" to be a real killer. Ask that question of anyone in your firm who isn't in sales and then ask yourself how come we think we know what our customers want if we don't even spend time with them?

This isn't just a book about customer focus, but it is about how to ensure that the customer becomes the central guiding light for every aspect of your business and why that matters. There is plenty of stuff in here for you to use to convince skeptics about how much profit growth you are missing out on by not harnessing the momentum that customer focus can deliver.
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on April 30, 2008
Wow! This book is readable, engaging and enlightening - but more importantly, its right! My own work centers around the importance and power of engagement in an HR context - ie how do you get your employees engaged so that they actually care enough to do their best work - or any work. Larreche widens this out to include just about every stakeholder you can think of and shows how the power that this engagement can generate can build real momentum.

More importantly, he doesn't just proselytize about engagement, he actually shows how to build it and how to use it once you've got it. He starts with customers, as the source of all the value a firm creates, and this forms the basis of the bulk of his book. But, from my point of view at least, the really interesting bit was when he showed how his framework can be applied to employees. I loved his description of the bad sort of CEO visit to the shop floor - I've seen plenty of those.

Most of this book relates to customers and the firm as a whole, but the framework he presents, and the chapters on HR/people issues make this a valuable book for people managers as well.
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on April 13, 2008
Here's a challenge for you to consider. Airline mergers don't work because the more market share a carrier captures the more downward price pressure hurts its bottom line. My book Competing for Customers and Capital is perhaps the only one that shows how to pinpoint this crippling financial dilemma in airlines.

If mergers don't work, what's an airline CEO to do? While my book points to the problem, it doesn't offer a solution. For a road map on how to find a way out of this dilemma I recommend they read J.C. Larreche's book The Momentum Effect: How to Ignite Exceptional Growth. Here's what Sir Richard Branson, who knows a thing or two about the airline business, says on the cover:

"This book shows you how to build momentum and leave your competitors trailing in your wake."

What might airline CEOs learn from it? One example of the insight that jumped from the pages of this book when I read it is the subject of my review.

The relationship most air carriers have with passengers never develops beyond their onboard experiences, online booking and ticket purchases. As JC says on page 154:

"There is no emotional connection. To generate the momentum effect requires a much deeper and more committed relationship than that offered by passive customers who just don't complain. Companies should measure their success by the number of delighted customers they have--people so thrilled with a product or service that they can't help but tell others about it."

Would offering a non-stop flight in place of a connecting one create vibrant satisfaction? Not really. While non-stop flights are very desirable, we've all learned to live without them. Finding a non-stop flight is great, but it does not create vibrant satisfaction. A non-stop flight is not something for which you would say: I can't-imagine anything more satisfying in airline travel. What sort of air travel service might lead you to express vibrant satisfaction?

We often hear the idea that "less is more." But that concept always is expressed in terms of money. The following sentence on page 27 of JC's book explains when less is more from the airline passenger's point of view:

"... less should mean that they get exactly what they need and nothing more, with no superfluous elements that create complexity and could destroy value."

Reading this sentence started me thinking: In my experience are there any airline services that create complexity and destroy value? Yes!

We pack our clothes in a suitcase, carry it to the airport, check it and know the TSA is likely inspect it. Maybe open it and search through our stuff to find out if what the scanner shows is a "digital camera" really is one. The inspectors "repack" our bag with a little printed notice that they were there. At out destination we wait patiently by the carrousel in the hope that this time our baggage will arrive, then roll it to a taxi or shuttle, take it to a hotel or other venue, unpack and lay out clothes for the next day. Then we replay this curse of checked baggage by returning the clothing to our suitcase. We carry it to the airport check-in, hoping to retrieve it from baggage handling at the end of the flight and take it home.

This is an endless, superfluous cycle of baggage handling, re-handling, and re-re-handling. A cycle of unnecessary complexity that often destroys what ever value might be created by an on-time arrival. Next to running the gauntlet of check-in lanes, checked baggage is biggest hassle we encounter in flying. Why do airline passengers need to check their baggage? If you think about it we don't need "baggage handling" as we know it. What we actually need is to have our baggage waiting for us when we arrive at our destination!

So I'm thinking how could an airline provide a service that does not require I check my bags at all? A light bulb flashes in my mind: why doesn't an airline partner with FedEx or UPS to pick up my baggage from home the day of my departure and deliver it to my destination timed with my flight arrival? No baggage to carry to the airport and check-in. No TSA inspection. No waiting at the baggage carrousel to pick it up and schlep it to the hotel. Then, just before the return flight, the express service picks up my baggage at the hotel and returns it to my home timed with my arrival. With this option my baggage never goes thorough the passenger air transportation system!

Here's the punch line. After JC's book led me to this idea I began searching the Internet to see if anyone had thought of it before. And I discovered that the folks at have been in the business of doing this for several years. So, why doesn't one of our legacy carriers cut a deal with Luggage Forward to bundle its service into their online reservation system? This 'power offer' would not only create more satisfied passengers, it also would create value-added revenue for the carrier while reducing the cost of mishandled baggage! If you want to learn more about this 'power offer' in air travel see my blog at [...]

The only thing I know about air travel is from 50 years as a passenger. But with that knowledge and JC's book I was able in a matter of minutes to design an offer that's so powerful it's already being delivered (on a small scale) to airline passengers. No "market research." No "focus groups." Just a personal knowledge of the air travelers' baggage handling problem and The Momentum Effect: How to Ignite Exceptional Growth. If I can do it, anyone can design a 'power offer.'
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on May 24, 2008
This is a book that brought me an excellent and coherent view on so many concepts and principles in the area of marketing. From design to delivery, all consequent phases are clearly described with the use of many very interesting case studies from all over the world. The book provides an approach that you can use to build a so-called power offer, which is a superb customer offering to realize `exceptional growth' in your business. Of course, it doesn't guarantee that you will create extraordinary profits with your service or product, but it certainly gives you many handles to improve your product design, development, sales, after sales etc in a coherent and fresh new way. It connects all those elements as customer value, retention, pricing, emotions, distribution etc, without giving you the feeling that it opens doors that already are open.
The book is very easy to read; when you start, you want to proceed to the end. It is a book you want on your desktop so you can have a look at it regularly, read some pages and think them over. I had the honor of attending a course at INSEAD of Professor Larreché and was inspired by his lectures, but you can feel his enthusiasm and professionalism while reading the book.
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on September 28, 2008
With so much being written about 'delighting customers', the 'customer experience', 'customer satisfaction' and the like it is great to read a book that really goes beyond the ordinary, to really dig into how organisations can really leave their competitors behind.
And it's none of this; engage customers differently or deliver compelling offers, this book really takes it to the next level.....Compelling Value, Power Offers, Vibrant Satisfaction, Vibrant Engagement and Vibrant Retention.
Great descriptions that really help organisations understand the need to go beyond good to the heart of building momentum.
If you've read all the standard texts on the topic, I'm sure you'll find a stimulating, thought provoking journey beyond ordinary thinking.
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on June 7, 2008
THE MOMENTUM EFFECT - HOW TO IGNITE EXCEPTIONAL GROWTH covers all aspects of management, both external and internal, of a successful company sustaining high growth. It demonstrates how momentum powered firms significantly increase value for all stakeholders, including customers, employees and shareholders through the following eight steps:
* Momentum Design
o Compelling insights that can only come from time spent with customers;
o These insights lead to compelling values by understanding the deeper human drivers;
o Compelling values lead to power offers meaning power with customers and power to generate growth;
o Power offers generate customers with compelling equity maximizing the value of customers to the firm;
* Momentum Execution
o Power offers are continuously tweaked and improved until they become irresistible;
o The delivery of the power offer leads to superior customer satisfaction what the author calls vibrant satisfaction;
o Vibrant satisfaction leads to vibrant retention and
o Vibrant engagement of the customer. Momentum companies engage customers at an emotional level to generate positive, momentum-driven action.

Each of these eight essential components of momentum strategy are described in detail and richly illustrated by real life stories from momentum companies like Wal-Mart, BMW, Skype, Apple and IKEA, to name just a few. These momentum driving components allow you to systematically harness the powerful, sustainable energy that can take your firm to the new efficiency frontier, driving the exceptional growth that will propel you into a different league. Finally, the Momentum Effect is a never ending journey, not a destination.

Jean-Claude Larreche is professor at the renowned European management school INSEAD and a consultant with leading global corporations.

THE MOMENTUM EFFECT is a joy to read and a must read for anybody who needs to excel in today's competitive world. Kai Wenk-Wolff (MBA INSEAD) is a turn-around specialist for manufacturing operations.
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on September 29, 2009
I am a big fan of W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne's Blue Ocean Strategy and was excited to read about Jean-Claude Larreche's The Momentum Effect in my Wharton alumni magazine. This book is excellent! Larreche has some great ideas on how to build your brand's momentum with sustainable, efficient, and consumer-based growth. In Marketing, we all have insights, but Larreche challenges you on how many of them are true insights vs. generic observations. How deeply do you really know your brand champions? A best practice from Larreche is to never summarize learnings from research - instead you should only present actual video or quotes from consumers. Once you translate it into your own words, you lose the true essence of the learning. You are never going to get deep insights in focus groups, spend time with your consumers, and see how they are using it.
Larreche shares his process on creating an insight pipeline that is interactive and iterative. The insights, the consumer value, the equity and power offer are all dynamic, requiring constant attention to is sustain growth. His process can be used as you market your product externally as well as motivating your teams internally. Take the momentum process and apply it to the internal workings of your company.
The Momemtum Effect is one of those few business books with immediate application to your business. It will help you reframe your business challenges and develop long-term growth solutions. A must for Marketers!

Ami Anderson
Director of Marketing Excellence
General Mills, Inc.
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