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Customers not CEOs decide whether companies succeed

Yet being customer-led remains elusive for many

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For those who want to turn the prevailing 'inside-out' view in companies to 'outside in' and ensure long term success."

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Paul Polman, co-founder Imagine,

and former CEO Unilever

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Paul Polman

Most companies are dominated by self-interest, looking to CEOs not customers and treating shareholders like gods. 


Customer-led companies start with customers and change whole markets to give them what they want but couldn’t ask for. 


Think Amazon, easyJet and Sky – simple to buy anything, easy to travel cheaply, more and better TV. Obvious. So why is it so rare?


The Customer Copernicus has the answer explaining how to become and how to stay customer-led.

Available Now


Saying you are customer-led and doing it are rarely

both achieved

63%of senior executives say understanding customers is critical to success. 

Yet only 24% adopt

a customer-led approach to running their business.* 

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*The Belief Trade-off: Customers or Efficiency First? Charlie Dawson, Seán Meehan & Karine Avagyan. IMD Research Report, 2017.

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Why we wrote the book

With The Customer Copernicus we set out to answer an important question – if being customer-led is as obvious as it seems, and given it often leads to great success, why is it so rare?


And we had to answer a second question, because Tesco, O2 and Wells Fargo were like this once. Why, having mastered it, would you ever stop? Because all three did, and two ended up in court.


It took us 7 years to write the book and find the answers. Like us, you can learn from leaders of some of the most customer-led organisations in the world, now and in the past, from successes and failures. These include Tesco, easyJet, DBS, Sky, Handelsbanken, Pepsico and O2 – in total 18 businesses are covered in depth. You will get insight into what really matters - people's shared beliefs about success - why and how to change them to become a true customer-led success.

Charlie Dawson & Seán Meehan

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Charlie Dawson, founder of The Foundation


Seán Meehan, Martin Hilti Professor of Marketing and

Change Management at IMD Business School

Why This Book
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What it takes to be Customer-Led:






Find the burning reason why you want or need to do this. Without this what follows will be too difficult.

Tackle a first big customer issue in the market ahead of others. It will be difficult, costly and hard to show in advance that it will work. It will create a Moment of Belief when you do it well.

Do more, a succession of pioneering initiatives or Moments of Belief, making life better for customers, growing internal belief that this is what success looks like and how it is achieved.

Make the approach systematic, repeatable and scalable, involving ways of learning, often centred on data, helping people across the organisation do a better job for customers.

Become and remain purposeful, here first to pioneer on behalf of customers with financial success a means to that end, managing the belief system not just the activities of the business.

What It Takes
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Explore 18 case studies, including:


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