Competing strictly on price, quality and features is the road most companies travel—often leading to their own demise. The fact is that someone else is always going to be a little cheaper or a little better.

Companies that prosper over the long term live by a somewhat different set of values. They create an emotional bond with their customers. They offer good deals, but they also display a genuine affection for their customers, and those customers are rabidly loyal in return. Successful companies think big. They don’t try to do things “a little better” than competitors; they develop a strategy that challenges the status quo, and they’re able to adapt that strategy quickly to changing market conditions. The most successful organizations don’t just value their customers—they aggressively recruit top talent, nurture employees’ ideas, and create a work environment that doesn’t always feel like work. They’re extremely disciplined about setting and meeting goals, but they also understand that employees work best when their creativity is valued and their contributions acknowledged.

Fast Company June 2003