The companies that truly succeed are those that get off the “follow the leader tread mill” and focus on what truly is relevant to their customers. It’s not about omni-channel or what you think you know. It’s about the insights your customers are not telling you. Those deep emotional needs that current companies are not delivering that truly drive loyalty and growth. Since these emotional needs are constantly evolving, successful companies are not so focused on short term gains and instead have their eyes set to the bigger and distant future. Simply put, they have a deep understanding of the unmet needs of their current and future customer and are ultimately not stuck in the present.
So why are so many companies fixated on short term gains versus long term goals? The answer is simple, it’s the carrot…what gets rewarded gets repeated, so goes the saying. It may keep the CEO in his job but does very little in ensuring the company has a long-term success strategy. This is truly flawed thinking and companies that buck the trend constantly beat the industry performance average. Unfortunately, they are too few and the perception is this lofty goal is unattainable. However, this is a very bias view built on the belief that quarterly earnings are the utopia that defines success.
Utopia–irrespective of how the investment community defines success–is a company that is relevant not only for the next quarter but quarter-century and well beyond. Ironically, it’s the very message the investment community has drilled into our subconscious. I am sure you have heard the saying: “you should focus on the long term and not worry about the short term blips in the economy.” So please tell me why is the investment community not drinking its own CoolAid? The reality is, if you are focused solely on the next quarter, your focus is too narrow and short sighted. You are surely bound to bump into a disruptive force that will challenge the very fabric of your company. And guess who is investing in these disruptive companies? Well, you guessed right, the same organizations that are telling you not to worry.
With so much at stake, with so many well-established companies failing, I recently wondered why executives are so focused on short term gains versus the more distant future for their organization. Putting aside the carrot analogy, the answer is quite simple, the average tenure of a CEO or C-Suite executive is only five years. So why bother worrying about something you won’t be around to benefit from or have an influence over? And this is where brand legacy and strategic foresight comes into play. Similar to how we want to pass on our legacy to our children, companies need to think about their brands as children and how they are creating a lasting legacy for them.
So, if you don’t know whether you are creating a lasting legacy for your brand or not, please take our Future Readiness Study.