Is your brand’s current performance the result of consistently delivering a remarkable customer experience and evolving to meet new consumer needs and wants?  Or is it simply inertia?

Many companies deliver decent performance today primarily by reaping the benefits of prior success.  The song they should play at their shareholder’s meeting is “Living in the Past.”

Dissect YOUR sales and profits.  How much comes from products, services or customer relationships that you developed many years ago, rather than in the last few years?  If you are not a business focused on older customers, what would happen if tomorrow you got zero business from anyone over 5o?

Sears–one of my former employers–is not still around today because they meet consumer needs in a differentiated, relevant way.  They have not generated significant numbers of profitable new customer relationships in many years.  Their best customers are aging.  They exist because of inertia.

In reality, of course, plenty of forces are acting on companies like Sears that will lead to their eventual demise unless dramatic action is taken.

When your success is rooted in customer relationships that are broadening and deepening; when new customers come largely through word of mouth from your brand evangelists, that is momentum and that is a good thing indeed.  When your customer metrics are deteriorating and no forces are acting to change the trajectory of your business, it is just a matter of time before you crash to earth.

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