Why some say no to ONE

Published by on november 24, 2005 at 12:36 e m

Many CEOs say “ONE sounds great, but we have so much work to do just trying to live up to our promises to the consumer that we can’t afford to think about the future or taking the next step with our customers.”

It’s a bit like living in a rough neighbourhood and putting on a tough facade to fit in. Your entire life then becomes a struggle to keep up the image. Instead of devoting all that energy to fighting, it is better to get to know the people in the neighbourhood and make friends with the right people. This is more than a metaphor, this is my own childhood in a rough neighbourhood.

A company that produces its products and services together with the company can spend less time and money on fighting to maintain its image and more time making the right friends. There are a number of good cases of large companies moving into the right neighbourhoods. Proctor and Gamble have literally moved into Spanish-speaking and black neighbourhoods in the US to develop products that meet the needs of the people who live there.

When I lecture or take consulting assignments I ask people who are sceptical of ONE a simple question: “Tell me the names of your 5 most loyal customers.” Ninety-nine times out of a hundred they have no answer.

Then I say: “In a tough neighbourhood, you wouldn’t last a week without knowing who your friends are.”