The Big Growth Secret (that almost all of us miss)

The Big Growth Secret

It’s a strange but worrying fact that most companies are much less good at sustaining profitable growth than they’d like to be.

Studies by Bain and others show that only about 10% of businesses grow profitably for sustained periods of time – and, given the crucial importance of growth to medium/long-term business success this is an issue the business world needs to take very seriously.  

I call this puzzling and rather worrying issue The Growth Paradox and it is the subject of my recently published book ‘The Growth Director’s Secret’.

My book examines the reasons for The Growth Paradox and identifies that most businesses miss the fundamental truth that most of the time consumers shop on ‘autopilot’ from a small portfolio of favourite brands that they return to time and again. The key to profitable growth is to secure ‘autopilot’ status for your brand – but, since autopilot decisions are taken subconsciously and are driven by mainly emotional factors most businesses struggle to do this.

My book reveals that the secret key to securing autopilot status is identifying ‘Moments of Maximum Emotional Engagement’ for your brand – those moments when product/service performance is disproportionately emotionally important to consumers. ‘Winning’ at these Moments is key to securing autopilot status – and profitable growth.

Our subconscious brains understand these ‘MEE Moments’, select as autopilot the brands they feel will best deliver there, and then stick stubbornly to these choices, purchasing them repeatedly and screening out attempts by other brands to lure us away.

Need some examples? Here’s a couple: 

Lynx understood that the MEE Moment for its target customers is when young men are in the proximity of attractive girls.

Cue proposition built around the seductive power of ‘The Lynx Effect’ and around 10 years of profitable growth.

Or – how about Premier Inns identifying the MEE Moment for budget hotel customers of waking up refreshed and energised from a good nights sleep? 

Forget mini bars, fluffy dressing gowns and gyms – Premier Inns invested in factors designed to ‘win’ at their MEE Moment (highest-quality mattresses; 4 choices of pillow softness; their ‘Good Night’s Sleep’ money-back guarantee) and took long-term leadership of their category.

These MEE Moments exist in every category but businesses find it hard to identify and connect with them because the conventional research tools we all use cannot connect with the subconscious, emotionally-driven decision-making processes of our brains.

New ‘Implicit’ tools have emerged from the world of neuroscience over the last 10 years to enable this connection to be made – but most businesses are not yet using them and so miss the chance to position themselves to ‘win’ at these crucial MEE Moments.


By Andy Brent, author and founding partner, Think Again Growth