How to be customer-led: Repeatedly doing what’s inconvenient

Book cover : Customer CopernicusGuest blog by NewMR sponsor Further, 13 July 2021


Join Charlie Dawson, author of the Customer Copernicus, in conversation with Stephen Cribbett, CEO of Further and find out how to transform an ordinary business into a customer-led success.

Part of Further’s #FutureReadyBrands online forums
Date: 22nd July 2021
Time: 4pm – 4.45pm London (11am – 11.45 New York)

Register here

Companies that are truly and manifestly customer-centric are rare, and rarer still is the organisation that manages a successful transition from self-obsession to being customer obsessed. 

In their new book The Customer Copernicus Charlie Dawson and Professor Seán Meehan unpack the ingredients, values and mindset of those rare organisations that are not only customer-led, but also manage to stay that way.  

The book explores what it means to be truly customer-led – to be guided not by self obsession but by what customers value – the underlying problems they are trying to solve or the outcomes they want. They argue that those rare companies that successfully transition and find customer-led success are those that have found new and better ways to create this value, solve these problems or achieve these outcomes, leading in a market not following.   

According to Kim Fausing, President and CEO, Danfoss The Customer Copernicus ought to be on the desk of every CEO. 

So if you want to find out why Tesco went from market trader to the third largest retailer in the world then had by a very public collapse, AO went from nothing to leadership of a hugely competitive sector and a £1 billion valuation in 15 years, and Sky made and won a series of make-or-break bets based on a belief that customers would pay for better TV – then join Further’s #FutureReadyBrands forum on July 22nd. Hear directly from Charlie Dawson, co-author of The Customer Copernicus and founder of london based consultancy, The Foundation.

To be truly customer focused the authors argue is like being Copernicus, heretical, odd, and baffling to others, with your face set against the prevailing wisdom and the many stronger claims for the soul and belief of an organisation; be they colleagues, shareholders, stakeholders, communities, or regulators

To illustrate this point, they tell the stories of 18 different businesses that by thinking this way, ended up pioneering on behalf of their customers, innovating proactively, leading their sector and usually being copied by competitors left in their wake.

From journeying from an ‘inside-out’ to an ‘outside-in’ belief system  and creating ‘moments of belief’ Dawson and Meehan claim that success starts by making things better for customers, whether or not they know how to ask for it, and then making it work for the business too, in that order. And crucially, they argue that what leaders say (and perhaps think) their company does and what it actually does can often be at odds. There is a saying / doing gap.  

Get inspired and learn a thing or two – you’ll be in good company. The book has delighted its readers – CEOs present and former, journalists and commentators have all lined to praise the book and its authors:

Dawson and Meehan have done something refreshing and admirable with this book; providing clarity and conviction about an area of business thinking that is so often infused with jargon and waffle. Their distinctive “moments of belief” idea is clearly articulated and substantiated and provides food for thought for leaders and managers wrestling with how to re-anchor and renew the purpose of their firm.  They encourage us to consider that when companies have lost their way, they could do a lot worse than adopt Darroch’s approach and believe that sustainable growth comes from serving the customer better.
John Dore, Wave your arms

Everyone talks about being customer-led, very few do it for real. The Customer Copernicus explains why, based on real-world examples. It has practical guidance on how to do better. If you’re saying you want to be a customer-led success, read this. It will help.”
Peter Duffy, CEO Moneysupermarket Group

The Customer Copernicus produces the answer to a pertinent question – if the customer at the centre of business thinking is such simple common sense, why do most organisations find it so difficult?
Sir John Timpson, Chairman, Timpson

“Customer-centric systems and behaviours are the key to success. But if it’s that obvious why is it so hard to do … and harder yet to sustain? Dawson and Meehan take this puzzling conundrum and propose well thought out and actionable solutions. A must read for business leaders navigating today’s markets.
Dan Futter, Chief Commercial Officer, The Dow Chemical Company

At Tesco in thirty years we went from a 10% to a 30% market share. We did it by becoming more and more customer focused. Seán and Charlie have worked hard to fnd out how it was done by Tesco and many other businesses besides. Lots to learn here.
Tim Mason, CEO, Eagle Eye and former Deputy CEO, Tesco

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