A recent Zurich corporate symposium with the theme "mind over matter" challenged customers to look at the questions of risk and risk management in a new light, to take in capital/reputation and shareholder value. James Heskett, Professor Emeritus at Harvard University's School of Business Administration, said that all companies would need to reconsider their business focus in the new economy.
"It will be difficult in future to identify a competitor. In certain circumstances
we may partner, in others we may compete." Research showed that customer loyalty, not market share, was the real driver of profitability. Dependability, responsiveness and empathy were vital, and customers should be the focus.
Delegates were also told organisations would rely increasingly on the strength of their brand and reputation. John Elkins, CEO and founder of FutureBrand, warned that once-powerful companies could face the risk of becoming "fading leaders".