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The Outperformers

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Outperformance in 8 steps

Today, we launch ‘The Outperformers’ – a research report to inform a new marketing playbook for the next generation of ambitious clients.


‘The Outperformers’ looks at the characteristics of outperforming businesses, how they are reshaping marketing and what agencies need to do to keep pace.
Based on interviews with ‘outperformers’ of varying sizes and from different sectors – including, Samsung, Mailchimp, Oatly, Activision, Shiseido, Hive, Peanut and Amex – the report looks at the beliefs and behaviours that outperformers adopt to achieve rapid growth and distils the tenants of outperformance into eight steps.

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Ian Millner, CEO Cheil Connec+, said, “There is a new type of business that has emerged within the corporate ecosystem that is disrupting markets and changing expectations of growth. These outperformers are not only beating their competitors but growing at a rate never seen before in their sector. Through the research report we wanted to get a better understanding of the commonalities between these innovative, restless and agile businesses”.


While ‘outperformers’ can be startups, scaleups and turnarounds, and they can exist in any sector, the research showed that what they have in common is an organisational structure that combines a stable core with fast tactical reflexes, and a holistic approach to marketing that is capable of extracting growth from increasingly complex environments.


“This kind of marketing takes creativity and collaboration, as well as an understanding of data and an appreciation of purpose. And as the era of cheap capital comes to an end, and rising inflation threatens consumer spending power as record numbers of new companies enter the market, it’s going to become more vital than ever,” said Millner.


For brands looking to achieve outperformance, the report identified eight behaviours that were evident across all outperformers:


  • 1. Demand intensity – Outperformers operate with ambitious intensity and demand the same from their partners.
  • 2. Act now – Outperformers are capable of making quick decisions amid increasing complexity. They react without being reactive.
  • 3. Stand apart – Outperformers use their difference to grow, not just stand out, creating and maintaining demand through disruptive products and routes to market.
  • 4. Obsess over operations – Outperformers prioritise operational discipline to bring new initiatives and ideas to life.
  • 5. Redefine marketing – Outperformers embed marketing throughout their organisation and orient all four P’s of the marketing mix to achieving growth.
  • 6. Ask more of data – Outperformers get the most out of data by ensuring everyone within their organisation has access to it and knows how to interpret it.
  • 7. Realize your purpose – Outperformers run their business and their brand according to a clearly-defined purpose geared towards social and environmental good.
  • 8. Take talent seriously – Outperformers dismantle silos and expect their employees and partners to have both broad knowledge and deep expertise.


The research looks to codify what it takes to be an outperformer and to help inform the approach to marketing that is now needed.


“‘Things are changing,” said Millner. “There’s this surge of a new type of hyper-competitive client, and the agency network groups are not really comfortable with it. They’re not really geared up in terms of their business models to be able to handle the intensity and the pressure that you see in these companies, and nor are they really willing to connect all the brands within their networks seamlessly, in order to work with the demands of those sorts of clients. So we’ve launched Cheil Connec+ to do exactly that”.


Download the report, created in partnership with Contagious here