Name any of these companies and most people will instantly recognize them as customer-driven: Amazon. Nike. Apple. Walt Disney.  The common denominator in their success is their ability to define new growth strategies by leveraging deep consumer insights.  

Let their success inspire you – and be sure to scroll to the end so you can access a free chapter of our book, Upstream Marketing 

Amazon Leverages the Power of Customer Insights 

Back when Jeff Bezos founded the now-infamous Amazon out of his garage in 1994, he probably didn’t set out to be involved in many of its current businesses.  

But Amazon did set out to become the most customer-driven business, as reflected in its vision statement: “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” 

Bezos is very clear about where to look for business direction—the end customer. “If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.” 

Apply that concept to your own company: ask how you might be more pioneering?  

Nike Knows the Benefit of Consumer Connection 

Nike’s purpose is “to unite the world through sport to create a healthy planet, active communities, and an equal playing field for all.” Sure, it may sound like a lofty goal for an athletic shoes and apparel company…but it speaks to why the company exists and aligns with their target consumers’ aspirations. 

Nike’s early insight? “You can’t explain much in sixty seconds, but when you show Michael Jordan, you don’t have to. It’s that simple,” said Phil Knight, Nike CEO, describing the importance of customer insights, clarity and emotion in new product and brand development.  

Nike knows athletic performance is highly aspirational and uses athletes who embody the brand to cultivate a deep consumer connection. Knight attributed Nike’s early success to a mindset shift, recognizing the importance of building a strong emotional connection with the consumer. “We used to think that everything started in the lab. Now we realize that everything spins off the consumer.” 

Take this concept into your business: how deeply are you invested emotionally with your customers?  

Apple: Focus + Simplicity = Success 

Then there’s Apple. Steve Job’s original mission for Apple: “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.” Jobs also spoke about the importance of insight and simplicity.  

“That’s been one of my mantras—focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” 

If your company isn’t moving mountains, think about how you can incorporate more simplicity.  

Walt Disney Embodies a Blend of Curiosity & Consumer Insights

At this world-famous company, it’s all about…happiness. Walt Disney described his company’s mission as “To make people happy.”  

Walt believed if you can dream it, you can do it. “We keep moving forward, opening up new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Strong on curiosity and insight, Disney’s success is moving beyond dreams to make them realities. 

Think about your own company: how strongly do you let curiosity lead?  

If you’re ready to grow your company brand… 

Everyone recognizes these companies, well-known for their memorable brands and innovative products that consumers can’t get enough of.  

Something drives their performance. It is an aspirational purpose and a commitment to customer-centricity. They start with a strong why—using internal clarity to define their organization’s aspiration—then they use that deep customer insight to chart new growth strategies. 

Ready to grow your brand? Learn more about developing customer-centric marketing in our book, Upstream Marketing. We’re giving you access to read an entire chapter, free. Access your download here.