BusinessWeek’s “The World’s Most Influential Companies” report (Dec 22, 2008 edition) highlights ten companies leading their industries: Apple, Google, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, Monsanto, News Corp., Saudi Aramco, Toyota, Unilever and Wal-Mart. I recommend reading the report. It is always helpful to consider what successful companies are doing right and think about how you might apply similar strategies to your own business.
A commonality among these innovators is the particular attention they give to the consumer, remaining cognizant of their needs and wants while continuously planning new ways to satisfy them. According to the article “A company’s physical assets are less important now than the force of its ideas. In the age of blogging and instant communication, consumers are less the recipients of corporate influence than powerful actors who help shape it.” So true. Working with the consumer is more important than ever as options abound and customer evangelism drives sales; they can be your greatest advocate or most dangerous foe. It is so important to talk with and really listen to them.
The report concludes by saying “Today, the best are trying to serve a global customer base while finding profitable ways to solve a range of societal ills.” I can’t help but think of the mission of Belmont’s College of Business Administration to prepare such leaders to do so.