When growth stalls: How to boost growth in large organisations

Con Frantzeskos

Con Frantzeskos is CEO of global growth consultancy, Penso, and board member of the Victorian Government-owned company, LaunchVic, which aims to make the state one of the world’s top destinations for entrepreneurs, startups, and scaleups.


The push to start new businesses continues. In Q1 2017, the number of seed and angel deals increased by 1.4 per cent compared to Q1 2016.

While small businesses are the heart and soul of jobs growth, it's just as important that established businesses focus on growing - less startup, more scaleup; less entrepreneur, more intrapreneur. So how can large organisations grow? To sustain growth, there must be a continuous pipeline of growth initiatives that represent new sources of profit for your brand. What distinguishes companies that carry on growing is their ability to create these new initiatives along short, medium and long-term horizons (a framework featured in The Alchemy of Growth). Here are four pillars to consider as you take stock of your growth strategy.

Brand growth

Brand growth comes from distinctiveness and memory. Building memories and an understanding of your brand is essential so that at a potential purchase moment, buyers think of you over a competitor brand. How to get there:

Short term: Treat your brand like everyday is launch day and be in market. Revisit your marketing strategy to ensure all efforts are focused on awareness and acquisition. Not loyalty programs.

Medium term: Develop reach initiatives to drive further awareness of your brand. Sponsorship, display ads, outdoor, TV/video advertising and more, are effective at raising awareness.

Long term: Use your distinctive brand assets - jingles, logos, colours, taglines, and so on, in all communications for as long as possible. Over time they will become strongly associated with your brand and act as a mental cue in a purchase occasion.

Channel growth

Channel growth comes from improving access of your products and services to your customers and employees, changing behaviour and selling effectively. How to get there:

Short term: Audit your current channels and begin building the right infrastructure of physical and digital touchpoints.

Medium term: Improve your distribution channels to increase the effectiveness of your sales team. The more that non-value-added work can be removed, the more your salesforce is empowered to provide a personalised service experience.

Long term: Develop a single customer view to build pricing and product models. To ensure feasibility, continue to refine your product, price, and distribution methods.

Customer experience (CX) growth

Customer Experience growth comes from acknowledging a focus on the “moments of truth” that deliver customer-first experiences.

How to get there:

Short term: Audit the user experience of existing products or channels by looking at analytics data from past visitor sessions or from capturing user sentiment. Uncover experience issues and begin to define ways to improve conversion and ensure customer satisfaction.

Medium term: Create a contact strategy to identify gaps and communication opportunities in order to develop and innovate the customer experience. Having a consistent approach attracts and converts prospects but also maintains a greater number of customers for the long term.

Long term: Build products with a customer-first perspective using a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach. This allows the business to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.

Connections growth

Connections growth comes from connecting consumer insights (via data and analytics) to deliver new or improved products and services.

How to get there:

Short term: Audit your data and analytics to uncover insights about your customers, then determine the metric that matters for your business.

Medium term: Begin using your data to deliver marketing effectiveness. Test, learn, and refine innovations and ideas in market.

Long term: Develop a single customer view to build pricing and product models. To ensure feasibility, continue to refine your product, price, and distribution methods. The world is changing all around us all the time. To continue to thrive as a business in the next years and beyond, large organisations must look ahead, understand the trends and forces that will shape their business in the future and move swiftly to prepare for what’s to come.

Tags: leadership, business strategy, growth strategy

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