What is Better?

We live in a world where bigger is believed to be better. In corporate America companies gobble up their competitors and promise the customer will benefit from the “synergies” of consolidation. Synergy is code for headcount reduction (job loss) and other expense-reducing measures. The newfound profit usually gets shared between shareholders and executives. But what about the customer? Yea-a-h-h… about that. Let’s look at a few examples.

In 2000 the Unilever behemoth acquired Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Did the customer benefit? Did the synergies lower the cost of a pint? Nope. Did the synergies improve the quality of ingredients? Hardly. So, surely, with the automation and technology available within the world’s third largest consumer goods conglomerate, the customer must have been given a wider selection of ice cream options. In reality, the options have been reduced considerably. Customer favorites like Wavy Gravy were terminated because they were not profitable enough.

Remember Burt’s Bees? It was once a company with deeply loyal customers. Now it is a “brand” within the Clorox Company. How about Tom’s of Maine? Consumed by Colgate-Palmolive, it is no longer a company belonging to people with a deep connection to their customer. If Burt’s Bees and Tom’s of Maine disappeared tomorrow neither Unilever nor Colgate-Palmolive would feel more than a moment of loss.

In all three examples, the customer is the loser. What we’ve discovered is that everytime a new layer of separation is added between the maker of a product and the buyer of the product, value is diminished, i.e. the customer gets less for their dollar.

New Harmony Soap Company is dedicated to our customers. While our business goal is to grow we believe the only way to be successful is by staying close to the customer. This is our definition of “better”. I have more to say but I’ll save it for a future blog post.

Thanks for reading!

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