In his new book, Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies, Stengel draws on 10 years of data from 50,000 businesses to identify 50 of the world's top brands. Teaming up with UCLA and research firm Millward Brown Optimor to do the analysis, he's come to this conclusion: What propels a successful company is not cutthroat business sense but an understanding of the purpose that drives its brand. In other words: If you make your customers' lives better, they'll return the favor.
Here are a few highlights from the "Stengel 50," his interpretation of those brands' driving ideals, and how they managed to turn that into profit.
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