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Think Holistic Act Personal THAP™ Driving the growth of high-performance brands

Going beyond conventional wisdom


hen I became the global marketing and brand leader for Deloitte, I was sure of only two things: I needed to learn a lot quickly, and I could minimize typical learning curve mistakes by following the conventional wisdom—Think Global, Act Local. Eight years and three million air miles later, I’m still sure of two things. First, I can never learn enough. Second, conventional wisdom no longer goes far enough. These conclusions reflect a fundamental shift in how I think about building and operating global businesses. The change didn’t happen overnight. It was a process accelerated when I moved from my native Madrid to live in New York City, a place which in many ways is a microcosm of our exciting, tumultuous, and diverse world. The relocation jolted my perception that operating a business across many countries required only an overall strategy, some acknowledgement of local differences and world-class logistics. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, when I arrived at Deloitte almost a decade ago, the brand was willing to challenge other industry giants to achieve the market recognition that we deserved. That goal became my mission. I am proud to say that today Deloitte is the pre-eminent professional services network globally, having outperformed our competitors for the first time by revenue and size during fiscal year 2010.

As such, I have since altered my view of Think Global, Act Local to a new approach, Think Holistic, Act Personal (THAP), which I believe has enabled businesses to better operate, communicate, and work together productively across borders. I invite you to learn more about Think Holistic, Act Personal in the following pages. Though it may sound simplistic on paper, I can assure you that it requires discipline and commitment to implement. To begin, it requires the will to lead and step ahead. Once it works—and it does work—everyone feels like a respected, contributing member of the organization and the approach becomes self-reinforcing. So yes, it takes work. Lots of it. But honestly, it’s not that complicated. Let me show you how and why Think Holistic, Act Personal is the management philosophy driving the growth of high performance brands today. Sincerely,

Luis Gallardo DTTL Managing Director, Global Brand & Marketing

In this issue

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Section 1 Branding in the 21st century Why Think Global, Act Local no longer works More than just a tagline


Section 2 THAP in a nutshell The 6 Rs: Building blocks for a sustainable future

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15 Section 3 THAP in action Real life examples • Lego • Zappos • Grameen Bank


Section 4 Why THAP? Join the discussion: write your own view

THAP is about understanding the world and people in it. It’s about global consciousness in the truest, broadest sense of the term.


Section 1

Branding in the 21st century

Why Think Global, Act Local no longer works


onventional wisdom teaches us that Think Global, Act Local, commonly referred to as Global-Local or Glocal, paves the way for leaders and their constituents to help eradicate the issues facing the world today. In fact, the mantra currently takes on a broader context—from environmental, to public policy, to business—many have embraced Think Global, Act Local as the philosophical foundation of running a successful brand operating on an international stage.

But why exactly are political pundits and global economists drawn to the ideals of this ubiquitous framework? Does it really provide the context for which organizations and businesses of all sizes can respond to rapid shifts within our economies of scale? From my point of view, up to now, Think Global, Act Local has only scratched the surface of this tremendously complex issue. What we need now is a 360-degree view of how we can best prepare businesses for sustained, long-term profitable growth.

Global vs. Holistic Simply put, global is too broad and undefined. It implies that we should standardize and lead from the center, so that we can better drive efficiencies that meet the burgeoning demands of local markets. This is in stark contrast with thinking holistically, which I define as the ability to take into account complex linkages and inter-connections in order to facilitate decision-making of the highest order. It is no longer enough to “think global”, we must: • Gain appreciation for the world at large, and in turn, know how to position organizations to win the supreme jackpot of sustained profitable growth • Capture interlocking elements, interdependencies, and synergies of the commercial environment 2

After all, with brand as the pathway to value and gaining the recognition organizations deserve in the marketplace, what better way to drive distinction than by thinking holistically about business?

Local vs. Personal Similar to thinking globally, acting locally does not touch upon the essence of human behavior—what we do or don’t do in response to change, challenge, and the status quo. Acting personal, however, mirrors human dynamics and the multi-dimensional profile of each individual. Act personal allows you to engineer communities, making messages and actions a relevant and timely response to the big picture needs of people. At Deloitte, we see the benefits of acting personal in our social media efforts every day. Addressing the individual concerns and aspirations of our stakeholders—talking to them what we care about—drives the engagement to boost client and employee satisfaction, retention, profits, and multi-stakeholder advocacy. It has the capacity not only to act, but to deliver “happiness” with each experience. What do you think? Do the terms Think Holistic, Act Personal help sustain growth and eradicate major challenges such as poverty, education or sustainability related to business or the environment? First, let’s dive a little deeper into THAP, as a unifying management philosophy and not just a tagline.

Branding in the 21st century 3

More than just a tagline


hink Holistic, Act Personal is more than just a tagline or a rallying cry against conventional wisdom. It’s a management philosophy, that when applied consistently throughout all aspects of the organization, paves the way for unparalleled growth. Now, let’s debunk several myths about running a successful brand. Success needs to be measured more broadly and not focused so fervently on the financial spreadsheet. Let’s face it. We like numbers because we are comfortable with them. We like to know the score whether we are at work or at play. But there are other interconnected factors, often disparaged as “soft”, that I argue are equally important. These include what I consider the six Rs: reason, revenues, rousers (leaders), reputation, relationships, and resilience.

When you think holistic, you consider not only the big picture, but the full picture.

They are not equally important all the time. Picture this: when you are juggling multiple balls or time commitments, you may have each ball up in the air simultaneously, but you are not focused on all of them at the same time. But keeping all the balls in the air all the time requires paying attention to each ball some of the time. I summarize this part as Think Holistic. 4

When you act personal, you make messages and actions relevant, and you make timely responses to the needs of people.

How we interact with one another starts with the assumption that the other person is both as simple, as complicated, and as multidimensional as you are. At a superficial level, he or she has preferences about food or clothing style that may or may not reflect deeper aspects of personality, passions, interests, ambitions, fears, and responsibilities. And how I respond to individuals, their ideas and needs, may be influenced not only by the interconnection of all these factors, but also by whether I arrived at work energized or exhausted, after dropping my kids at school and kissing them goodbye or after arguing with them, and also whether I’m from Shanghai or Mumbai or someplace in between. I summarize this part as Act Personal. Think Holistic, Act Personal is applied knowledge that works. Read on to find out what’s behind the eminent philosophy driving the growth of high performance brands.

Branding in the 21st century 5

Join the discussion at Here are some fundamental questions worth considering:






In his book on how successful people think, John C. Maxell states “A person who knows how may always have a job, but the person who knows why will always be his boss.” Do you agree or disagree? Why?

Holism is more about the fullpicture than the big-picture. A system as a whole determines in an important way how the parts behave. Have you been amazed by a specific system already? Do you know of anybody that thinks beyond himself and his world to process ideas in a consistent way?

Ready, steady, go! Some people think that desire and belief jointly cause action; other people think that it is much more irrational, and emotions move us. What is your view? Do you feel comfortable beta testing or do you prefer to show results once all the testing was done? How do you act?

What moves you? What keeps you up at night? Are you more of a feeling or judging individual? Do you think business has a human side? What are the skills you need to put yourself in your client’s shoes? Does it work when you do it?

Section 2

THAP in a nutshell

The 6 Rs: Building blocks for a sustainable future “A primary reason for the failure of so many strategies is that, while the tools and techniques may be present and strategy rolled out and implemented with vigor, the fundamental culture of the organization remains the same.” Alexander Hamilton, Senior Manager of Global Brand Engagement at Deloitte


hat do you do to fortify your business? In other words: How do you position your company for distinctive, longrunning, profitable progress? It’s a matter of Rs. To be precise, there are 6 Rs that, when used together, help businesses achieve their objective of sustained, gainful growth. Let’s take a look.

Reason Creating a sustainable, high performance business requires Reason: an organization’s internal compass on why they do business and stay the course. Reason works to unify organizations by promoting a powerful yet simple idea—an idea bound together by a common cause and purpose. Reason, values, and principles are the building blocks of cultures. Reason unifies a shared vision, values reflect how others are treated, and principles articulate beliefs on how businesses should operate. What is the intention or purpose of what we do? Why are we in business, go to work every day, or behave the way we do? Do you need to know the purpose of why you do what you do to have better performance?


Revenue Revenue can be tangible or intangible. It can be financial or non-financial. Each offers the same value at a fundamental level. Revenue is therefore value creation that is central to an organization’s growth and sustainability. The key to creating value is to keep your eye on the horizon. Spot potential changes taking place, consequences for your business, and opportunities they present. To pursue opportunities that may yield the desired level of R for Revenue, adopt strategies. The possibilities are endless. Enter new markets or open new market space. Restructure or diversify.

“Alarmingly, many companies do not have a coherent view of their value proposition.� Sean Meehan, author of Beyond the familiar and expert on Marketing Management and Innovation, during an interview on THAP

So, think ahead. Adopt an entrepreneurial mindset. Explore and develop. Have you discovered how to achieve sustainable value creation? What does it take to achieve the right results?

THAP in a nutshell 9

“The leader’s role is to create direction and meaning and to encourage autonomy. This requires clarity, curiosity, and courage.” Martha Maznevski, Professor of Organizational Behavior, IMD

Rouser A responsible leader serves as the #1 champion of an organization. This advocate articulates the mission and brand of a business and ignites and excites stakeholders. This person sets the tone and guides activities and is the force we call the Rouser. The Rouser sets off a chain reaction that permeates ideas, imaginations, commitments, efforts, achievements, and people. In this increasingly complex world, the Rouser also needs something of paramount importance: that is, the Rouser must infuse ethics into all aspects, activities, and achievements of an organization, including earnings. As such, the Rouser sets the standards for all of the Rs in the THAP model. Do you know people who wanted to change the world in a small or big way and did it? Are you one of them?


Reputation It is only through Reputation that we earn the trust of our clients. In recent years, the concept of Reputation has gathered widespread attention and interest. Businesses no longer regard the traditional financial indices as the only indicators of progress. As a measure of success, Reputation rivals, and perhaps surpasses, stock market performance, earnings, or the recovery of investments. In the least, it certainly affects them. Reputation also affects brand. It has the power to build trust with those outside a business, such as clients, as well as with the employees within. On the flip side, it has the potential to cause and court disaster. As such, it has a prominent place among the 6 Rs that comprise THAP.

“Reputation and Revenue generation have to be symbiotic concepts. The key here is to work out what kind of reputation will drive your revenue.� Jim Prior, CEO of The Partners agency, during an interview on THAP

How do you measure what your stakeholders think about you or your business? What is the gap? How can we make sure our stakeholders get the right experience?

THAP in a nutshell 11

“Relationships and trust. This is the bedrock of life.” Mukesh Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director, Reliance Industries

Relationships What generates receipts and value creation? What drives transactions in the B2B and B2C sectors? It’s not the first B in B2B and B2C, which stands for business. People do. Welcome to the new era of Relationships in business and other domains. Looking inward for the corporate ladder? Watch out. It’s gone. Looking outward? Here too, Relationships abound. Clients, distributors, vendors, the media, the regulators, government itself—note and address stakeholders of all kinds. Like life itself, business today relies on people. And managing Relationships for success is fundamentally important for success. Are social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn helpful in building long-term relationships? What is its real value in the relationship building business we are in?


Resilience Staying the course is essential for continuous improvement and impact. It requires individuals and groups to exhibit positive behavioral adaptation in times of great adversity. It requires Resilience—an attitude that anchors, and pushes the limit so that the next wave of success can be anticipated…and achieved. But to understand the power of resilience, you must first understand it as a process—a series of actions that either promote well-being or protect against the overwhelming influence of risk factors that prevent progress.

“I haven’t failed. I’ve identified 10,000 ways this doesn’t work.” Thomas Edison, American inventor, scientist, and businessman

Michael Ungar, known expert in the field of social work, explains that: “Resilience is better understood as both the capacity of individuals to navigate their way to the psychological, social, cultural, and physical resources that sustain their well-being, and their capacity individually and collectively to negotiate for these resources to be provided and experienced in culturally meaningful ways.” Do you stand up when you fall down? Always? Emotionally too? What business or personal examples would you highlight as having mastered resilience as part of the behavior?

THAP in a nutshell 13

THAP is about coming together as a community, and finding meaningful ways to transform reality.


Section 3

THAP in action

Real life examples


eal life examples of THAP in action can be found in many of the world’s leading organizations. Here are case studies that examine how the 6 Rs (Reason, Revenue, Rouser, Reputation, Relationships, and Resilience) are being brought to life by the following brands. To go deeper into THAP and view expert commentary from business leaders of today’s global economic landscape, visit


Lego As the fifth largest manufacturer of play materials in the world, this Denmark-based global brand with operations in over 130 countries worldwide, aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. Through the brand values of imagination, creativity, fun, learning, caring and quality, they are “inventing the future of play.” Reason: The word ‘Lego’ is an abbreviation of the Danish phrase ‘leg godt,’ meaning “play well.” This vision not only infuses Lego’s culture but also inspires every single activity it carries out: from research and development to marketing and promotion. Revenue: Lego was able to turn a DKK1.9 billion net loss in 2004 into a DKK3.7 billion net profit in 2010 by dramatically increasing the company’s revenue. However, Lego’s real source of revenue has always been its brand and the incredible community of customers that are so passionate about its products. Rouser: After one of the worst years in the history of Lego Group, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the grandson of Lego’s founder, decided to step down as president of the company. Jorgen Vig Knustorp succeeded him in 2004, and has since revitalized Lego’s brand and returned the company to profitability. His “less talk and more action” philosophy has led to a leaner organization with a customer-oriented focus—drawing on the analytical, financial, and strategic skills he developed as the company’s former head of strategy.

THAP in action 17

Reputation: Lego is a brand that is synonymous with quality and originality. In fact, Lego was twice named the “Toy of the Century,” by Fortune Magazine and the British Association of Toy Retailers. The company’s classic bricks are made of high quality ABS plastic and feature a classic design, setting the standard for quality in the toy manufacturing industry. Generations of parents and children have come to identify Lego products with innovation and creativity over the company’s 79 year history.

Lego aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. Relationships: Lego is a creative platform. As such, Lego’s engagement is an essential part of new product development and promotional strategy. Direct contact with children through school programs, membership in the Lego Club, and collaboration with sales channel partners ensures that Lego can react to changing customer trends and stay relevant to its customers. The company has a similar policy with regard to its own internal management; executives are encouraged to set company goals based on the recommendations of company managers and employees. Resilience: In 2004, Lego suffered a DKK1.9 billion loss on just over DKK6 billion in sales. Richard Stollery, Lego’s Senior Director of Consumer Experiences, describes this time as “a bit of a wake up call” for the company. Lego had neglected its core business to expand into new product lines—including action figures, theme parks, and even television. Since then the company has returned to profitability under the leadership of current president, Jorgen Vig Knudstrop, who has re-focused the company on its core values: outstanding customer service and product engagement. 18

Zappos Zappos, the “world’s most popular shoe store,” headquartered in Nevada with operations in the USA and Canada, is rapidly becoming the premiere destination for online shoes, handbags, and clothing. The value proposition? Online shoes with superior customer service. Reason: At Zappos, employees are encouraged to be creative, to do the unexpected, and to be a little weird. How does this quirky creativity engage customers? From maintaining an online “furry customers” photo page of customer pets, to posting the results of its many inter-office pranks directly on the company’s blog—it seems that Zappos has no better Reason than “delivering happiness” and fulfilling its ambitious goal of becoming the “greatest service company in the world.” Revenue: Since hitting the USD$1 billion mark in gross merchandise sales in 2008, Zappos has been acquired by Amazon, generating net sales of more than 50% of that amount in Q1 of 2010. Rouser: What does it take deliver “wow” experiences to customers? According to CEO Tony Hsieh, it takes a fun and loose work environment where the entire business revolves around the concept of happiness and the long-term growth of its employees. Reputation: Fondly known as the “world’s most popular shoe store,” Zappos is a revered brand with its own share of impressive accolades, including being part of Fortune Magazine’s “Best companies to work for” list. Today, 75% of the purchases at Zappos are from repeat customers.

THAP in action 19

Relationships: Employee and consumer relationships at Zappos are at the forefront of the company’s value proposition: that is, open, honest, and transparent communication with its employees and customers. From culture building opportunities, to the empowerment of its employees, to superior health benefits—Zappos is able to promise and deliver revolutionary service to its stakeholders.

Zappos, the “world’s most popular shoe store,” is rapidly becoming the premiere destination for online shoes, handbags, and clothing. Resilience: When a pricing glitch in May 2010 caused Zapposowned site to drastically underprice many of its online items, it could have issued the standard industry response by apologizing and refusing to complete any purchases made for incorrect prices. Instead, Zappos chose to take a USD1.6 million loss on the products it sold by honoring all purchases made—even those items it mistakenly sold below cost. The bottom-line: Zappos is fanatical about customer service.


Grameen Bank Headquartered in Bangladesh, Grameen Bank is a leading micro-lending social bank lead by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. Through discipline, unity, courage, and hard work, Grameen Bank is in business to enable the poor, especially the poorest, to create a world without poverty. Reason: With the objective of helping the poorest of the poor escape from poverty, Grameen Bank aims to improve the quality of life of its borrowers, particularly women in Bangladesh’s rural villages. The bank’s micro-lending programs target empowerment, participation, access to better housing, health and nutrition, and education as primary goals. Revenue: One of Grameen Bank’s distinguishing features is its impressive repayment rate: averaging between 95% and 98% over the last ten years. This number is far higher than the repayment rate of many US banks and student loan programs. The bank has also been profitable in 25 of the last 28 years, creating a system where both borrowers and owners can create shared value. Rouser: Mohammed Yunus is the founder of Grameen Bank and is widely considered to be one of the most influential leaders of the worldwide microfinance movement—with replicas of the Grameen Bank existing in over 58 countries around the world. He received the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, and also serves on the board of directors for the United Nations Foundation.

THAP in action 21

Reputation: Though Grameen Bank was honored along with Mohammed Yunus as the 2006 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, its reputation has recently been questions over allegations of immoral lending practices. The allegations are primarily aimed at other for-profit micro-lending organizations, such as SKS Microfinance; however, Grameen Bank’s image has suffered because of its status as the most widely recognized microfinance lender in the world.

Through discipline, unity, courage, and hard work, Grameen Bank is in business to enable the poor, especially the poorest, to create a world without poverty. Relationships: Grameen Bank is founded on the principles of trust and solidarity. Borrowers are given more freedom than at other similar institutions—with some repayment periods extending almost indefinitely. Because it functions not only to provide borrowers with a source of credit, but also with a source of financial literacy: many borrowers also receive counseling and education scholarships as part of their loan agreements. Resilience: Despite a repayment rate in excess of 95%, Grameen Bank has faced criticism from international economists who have questioned its long-term efficacy. With the recent ouster of its founder, Muhammad Yunus, who passed the mandatory retirement age nearly a decade ago, Grameen Bank has had to re-evaluate its dual priorities: maintaining both a commitment to the poor and an obligation to its owners—94% of whom are borrowers themselves. 22

Section 4


Join the discussion: write your own view


rom my point of view, up to now, Think Global, Act Local has only scratched the surface of the tremendously complex issue of managing and preparing businesses in today’s ever-changing global economy. By thinking holistically and acting personally, over time, we, as leaders and marketers, can achieve long-term profitable growth.

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For me, Think Holistic, Act Personal is much more than a management philosophy that combines the key insights of my experience as a global marketing executive. THAP is about coming together as a community committed to learning, collaborating, and assessing how leaders around the world can better shape a sustainable and desirable future for their organization, the people they employ, and the clients and customers they serve.



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I invite you to share and write your own view of THAP by visiting The website serves as a platform in which best practices can be shared among communication and marketing experts, strategic concepts can be discussed, and new ideas can take place. .com

Is THAP really the alternative to conventional wisdom? Can it be used to address major challenges happening in the world today? I look forward to hearing from you soon.


THAP is the brand management philosophy that prepares organizations for sustainable growth.

Why THAP? 25

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms. Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings worldclass capabilities and deep local expertise to help clients succeed wherever they operate. Deloitte’s approximately 170,000 professionals are committed to becoming the standard of excellence. This publication is for internal distribution and use only among personnel of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, its member firms, and their related entities (collectively, the “Deloitte Network”). None of the Deloitte Network shall be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person who relies on this publication. © 2011 Deloitte Global Services Limited Designed and produced by The Global Brand Studio


Staying a step ahead of today’s ever-changing and complex global environment is no easy feat, even for the savviest of marketers and C-suite...


Staying a step ahead of today’s ever-changing and complex global environment is no easy feat, even for the savviest of marketers and C-suite...