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  • Consumer Loyalty and Apple's Success

    Forbes contributor Robert Passikoff says Apple has become The Most Valuable Company in the World thanks in large part to chart-topping customer loyalty. "So it’s axiomatic: more consumers behave well toward a brand, a brand sells more, a brand makes more money, its stock goes up," Passikoff writes. And in Apple's case, the stock goes up past $500 a share. So how does Apple do it? Bain & Company 's Fred Reichfeld says it all about loyalty. And, Reichfeld explains in this Harvard Business Review video, other companies would do well to follow Apple's example. It probably won't lead to the same stock valuation, but it might be a path toward sustainable growth:
  • 'Recessions as Curves, Boom Times as Straightaways,' or Why Companies Should See Downturns As Times to Reposition Themselves

    Darrell Rigby of Bain & Company advises companies about their strategies for competing during a downturn. He spoke about some of the advice he gives in an interview with Curt Nickisch --friend of The Watch and business reporter for WBUR radio in Boston. And Rigby says he tells managers "to think of their companies as race cars careening around a track, where boom times are the straightaway and recessions are the curves." Rigby said it’s hard for companies to pass each other during good times, on the straightaway. The big companies stay in front on power alone. “But on a curve,” Ribgy said, “curves are driven by strategic finesse. And so even a company that has less power — if it is skillfully maneuvered in curves — can pass much larger, stronger competitors.” Rigby has research that backs that up. It shows that market share changes more during a downturn than at any other time. About one-third of industry leaders come out of a recession as industry laggards. And the other way around. One big reason? Customers look for alternatives. “During a downturn people say, hey I’ll give it a try, what the heck,” Rigby said, citing ZipCar as an example of such a company that started during a downturn. “And then they try it, find out they like it a great deal, and then when the things start turning around, they say, I’ll stick with it!” Nickisch's report goes on to look at the success of EMC² in taking on industry giant IBM during the recession of the early 90s, and how Shaw's Supermarkets is trying to reposition itself in this downturn. Take a listen here .