Robert M. Donnelly is CMO of Flo-Tite Valves & Controls, a U.S. based supplier of valves and components to the process control industry in North America. A coach, educator, and advisor to founders/CEOs of growing firms, he is a serial entrepreneur, having started, grown and sold several technology based businesses. Previously he held executive positions at IBM, Pfizer and Exxon.
Peter Drucker, the guru of modern management theory, said these now famous words: “the purpose of a business is to create a customer, and the purpose of the leader is to grow the value of the customer.”
Planning anticipates the inevitable, but if you are not contemplating the inevitable, then you will be surprised when it arrives. The major reason why companies are surprised is because they do not have the right key performance indicators (KPIs).
Every CEO should be developing a strategy to inculcate innovation in the fabric of their company so that they have a sustainable unique value proposition which gives them a competitive advantage by creating an emotional bond with their customers.
Every CEO must carefully compare their firms’ unique resources with specific customer’s changing requirements and select those that the organization can satisfy better than their competitors. When this is done well and promoted effectively your brand will “own” a position in the mind of a certain set of customers.
When you think of HP what brand image immediately comes to mind? PC’s, laptops, printers – right? They are the world’s largest PC manufacturer. It’s what sets them apart from their competitors and is encapsulated in their value proposition. No wonder the stock went down 20 percent on the restructuring announcement.
No matter what market your company is in, once your value proposition ages, customers will move on to the next faster, better, or cheaper solution for their changing requirements. Look at the USPS and then examples of how mail is handled in other countries and you'll see the importance of reinventing your company to keep up with the times.