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What’s next for Asian companies? Putting the customer first

  • May 29, 2014
What’s next for Asian companies? Putting the customer first

As China moves from an undisputed global manufacturing hub to a fast-growing consumer market and as Chinese companies contemplate their next move on global markets, they must move out of a factory mindset to a customer mindset.

Ivey Professor Niraj Dawar will offer advice for moving up the value curve at two upcoming events in the Greater China Region this month:

Dawar will draw lessons from his best-selling book TILT: Shifting Your Strategy from Products to Customers (Harvard Business Press, November 2013), which focuses on the strategy shift from “what you sell” to “what customers buy.”

“Companies are looking for ways to not be so product focused or price focused. TILT offers a systematic framework to break out of their product-only focus” he said. “It shows businesses how to think not just in terms of their product or production, but much more in terms of their customers, and how and what they buy.”

The day after its release, TILT was ranked the second (Kindle) and third (hardcover) best-selling marketing book in the world. It placed fourth on the Forbes list of recommended readings for creative leaders in 2013, was named among the top five books for entrepreneurs, and was also named one of the top five business books by The Strategist/Business Standard. Dawar said the book has resonated particularly well with companies around the world in the following three industries:

  1. Product-focused industries, such as tech or pharma, where the product has always been thought to be the source of competitive advantage.
  2. Commodity industries, where products may be indistinguishable from competitors, so they tend to compete on price.
  3. Companies that are part of global value chains, such as component suppliers, that want to break out of that role by offering added value that is not necessarily product-related.

“In southern China there is an abundance of all three types of companies,” said Dawar. “And as the economic slowdown hits China, these companies are starting to realize that they need to do more than just sell products or product components. They need to create and deliver value beyond their products.”

Dawar points to the success of Asian companies such as Samsung, as well as a host of upcoming Chinese companies, as proof it can be done.

“Asia is a wonderful place to talk about these business ideas. There is such a thirst for knowledge for ways of doing business better, driven by the fact that it’s a very competitive market,” said Dawar.

For more information on TILT, visit the TILT website.