A global-marketing guru extols the power of idealism in business.
From a childhood paper route as a kid in central Pennsylvania to a pivotal seven-year stint as a marketing officer at Proctor & Gamble, Stengel knows his territory well and demonstrates a distinct business savvy. He stresses early on that the core of any business model should be in the establishment of a brand “ideal factor,” a term which the author longwindedly translates throughout the book as the focused attention a business pays to the improvement of its customers’ lives. Stengel lays out five core “must-do” principles based on a decade-long growth study he performed on 50,000 businesses worldwide brands in conjunction with a noted brand-consulting firm. From that research, the author presents his top businesses (“The Stengel 50”), which he believes are industry role models for their sustainability, financial profitability and consumer loyalty. In the book’s more practical second section, Stengel expansively vets the strengths of successful powerhouse brands like Jack Daniel’s, Discovery Communications, Pampers and Visa, and introduces important leadership-building “culture cues.” Additionally, he astutely analyzes how and why each of the five interlocking pieces of his business model will prove successful when applied to any company eager for sustained growth, enhanced profitability and increased morale. Stengel capably conveys the merits of corporate idealism, but the message becomes messy with the frequent repetition of core principles and continuous mentions of his executive position at Proctor & Gamble.
Business professionals not flummoxed by the book’s infomercial aftertaste will find the marketing pep-talk galvanizing.