This book is a must-read for all the branding and marketing folks. Whether you are just starting out or twenty years into the business, Grow should be on your essential reading list. While the book may not necessarily tell you anything “new” it does passionately reinforce the importance of brand ideal.
Grow is part autobiography and part marketing and business lesson and makes for an effortless read. Stengel, ex-Global Marketing Officer at P&G, talks about some of the pivotal moments in his career when he was tasked with turning the ship around on floundering businesses, or seamlessly integrate the marketing function of an acquired company to running global mandates across continents.
While sharing his personal experience, he also shares detailed case studies from other companies that are a part of the Stengel 50, such as Dell, Pizza Hut, Discovery, Jack Daniels, Method and Disney.
There are some amazing gems in the book such as the Ideal Tree – Stengel’s visual representation of people who are important to the future of a business and their relationship with each other.
Stengel outlines the five must dos for a leader:
- Discover an ideal in one of the fundamental human values (eliciting joy, enabling connection, inspiring exploration, evoking pride, impacting society)
- Build your culture around your ideal
- Communicate your ideal to engage employees and customers
- Deliver a near-ideal customer experience
- Evaluate your progress and people against your ideal
I am not 100% sold on the Stengel study and its findings given that it’s rooted to a specific decade and a lot has changed since then. However, I like how Stengel keeps on going back to the customer to solve any business problem. Those of us in Marketing (and beyond) know how crucial it is to understand the consumer, their consumption pattern, the feelings a brand or product evokes and more. This is precisely what Stengel keeps on hammering on throughout the book – go back to the consumer and the brand ideal to find the answer.
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