The Foundation was set up in 1999 with the aim of helping organisations succeed by giving customers what they really want. It sounds obvious, but it seemed, and still seems, to be rarely achieved.
We are a consultancy helping our clients tackling their biggest organic growth challenges; growing faster, growing into new markets or fending off threats to growth. Not only are these a crucial set of issues in creating value for an organisation, they are difficult to address
Why? Because people in any organisation naturally see the world from the inside-out. Colleagues are close, customers distant, and there are lots of assumptions about how things are done that don’t get challenged
We help clients re-balance, looking from the outside-in. This means two things – re-connecting with what customers really value, as opposed to what’s produced or sold, and then finding new and better ways to create this value. Easy to say, but often deceptively difficult and inconvenient to do at scale, and while other organisations find lateral new ways to solve customers’ problems
So how do we do this? We have learned to work as facilitators as well as experts, because the issue is not the lack of outside-in information – in most businesses there is more than enough market research. What is missing is the impact the information needs to get senior managers to respond. As a result, in a typical project we frame the issue carefully, then help senior teams literally see their world from the outside in, talking to or becoming customers and listening to stories from leaders of organisations in other sectors who have tackled issues with similarities. These activities help managers become people again, getting what matters most and having new ideas about how to improve, with the belief that these ideas could work
In the end a good result is a balance between our clients’ inside-out knowledge of their sector and culture, and the more difficult to grasp outside-in perspective. By the end of a project, we paint a picture of what the stretching solution will look like in the future, develop a plan working backwards from the answer to now so it is feasible, and ensure it is owned by the team that are going to deliver it.
We most often get asked to address three specific types of question:
Developing new propositions
Improving customers’ experiences
Developing customer-led strategies, such as increasing customer value or retention
We have helped a range of organisations across sectors and geographies, and have built long lasting relationships with our clients, including HSBC, Jaguar Land Rover, Ebay, Visa, M&S and O2.
We are proud to have helped create Plan A at M&S, to have contributed to adding £100m of value to a Travelex card-based travel money proposition, and given Morrisons a competitive direction that is contributing to their return to growth.
So what makes us different? Coming from an analytical background in engineering, but then pursuing a career in the more customer-led advertising world, our founder Charlie Dawson was inspired to mix the commercial world of business with the world of customers by working on a ground-breaking company launch in the mid-90s, Daewoo Cars, where this happened circumstantially. We have now built a team with diverse backgrounds, from science, law, strategic marketing, (more) engineering and behavioural science, and each individual brings a determination to cross the border between the customer and business, so the customer and commercial agenda can be viewed as one