Executive Summary

In an era of rapid globalization, extreme volatility and heightened risk,
maintaining a strong customer focus is essential to achieving high performance:
to withstand short-term pressures while laying the groundwork for growth in the

Being “customer-centric” is undeniably more difficult today. The long-term
effect on consumer psychology of hard - to - quantify factors such as diminished
spending power, government intervention and increased competition for share of
wallet is still unknown. What is clear, however, is that there is no stepping
back from globalization and the ongoing diffusion of economic power across
multiple geographic markets.

Even in a down economy, many of the world’s emerging markets have continued
to enjoy solid growth in consumer spending, bolstered by long-term
fundamentals such as population growth, an emerging middle class of aspirational consumers, rising per capita incomes and greater credit availability.

These new sources of consumer spending may help businesses counteract sagging demand in Western economies and build a base of new consumers for the upturn.

However, many traditional approaches to identifying, reaching and satisfying
buyers will need to be refreshed or even retooled for these emerging consumer

The organizations likely to achieve high performance during this current period
of extreme change and volatility will be those that invest now in understanding
the changing global customer base, that are willing to experiment with and
master new routes to reaching new customers, and that focus going forward
on fostering trust-based relationships to the same degree they have focused, historically, on managing customer transactions efficiently.


07 15, 2009

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