A report commissioned by Inspiration Blvd. LLC
For the past century, America has built an infrastructure of successful businesses based on Fredrick Taylor's "Scientific Management" principles. Numbers and processes over people and relationships. However, it is clear that a new paradigm in business is emerging. The businesses that will be profitable in this decade will not rely on the principles of scientific management alone.
These Most Inspiring Companies, as identified by an online survey of 1,752 consumers based in the United States, are leading the way. The overriding principal driving inspiration is not a company's product or profitably; it is how the company is perceived of using its products and profitability to improving the world's and its people. Not coincidentally, the gains in stock prices of the public companies on the Inspiration Blvd's list outperformed the S&P 500 Index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ Composite.
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Consumers found Microsoft to be as inspiring as any nonprofit in the world today because of the close association with the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation. In fact people view the work of the Foundation as an authentic extension of the mission of Microsoft.
Google inspires people by causing them to feel smarter and empowered to reach their potential.
Sees what could be and innovates to make it a reality, causing people to feel creative and energized.
Ford's refusal to accept bail out money resonated well with consumers. This is practicing the principle of credibility.
With their vision for the local communities, Walmart is perceived as a main stay for jobs and as a caring company for seniors.
Embedding the mission of the Ronald McDonald House into the very fabric of the company's culture causes consumers to deeply admire and appreciate McDonald's vision to make the world a better place for families who have sick children.
Inspires consumers because of their commitment to innovate for new products that both save lives and improves the quality of life of patients.
Since the time of Katrina, consumers have noticed and been inspired by Johnson & Johnson's vision for providing volunteers and life-enhancing products to hurrican victims. Also their vision for creating innovative products that are being used to make the world a better place for victims of breast cancer and A.I.D.S. is inspiring consumers.
Between their commitment to their employees and their commitmen to be closed on Sundays, consumers view Chick-fil-A as having made a commitment to an inspiring culture.
Target is most recongized and appreciated for their commitment to give back to their local communities. Target's initiative to help raise money for local schools inspires many of their customers to want to personally do and give more of themselves.
Consumers are inspired by P&G's commitment to use some of it's profit towards making the world a better place for local communities.
Ben and Jerry's is clearly known by consumers for using some portion of their profits to make the world a better place by supporting local communities. Though it's not clear to consumers exactly which charitable causes Ben and Jerry's support, there is no doubt people are aware and appreciate their commimtent to giving back.
Nike's vision for reaching out to underserved athletes causes consumers to feel inspired. In some ways, people are inspired by the product itself because it makes them feel empowered to reach their potential.
Newman's vision for leveraging a for-profit venture for the pure sake of making the world a better place is proven to be inspiring. Even though people in the survey did not seem to recognize the specific charities it supported, there was a deep sense of appreciation and loyalty for their mission.
Oprah utilizes the element of story to inspire people to overcome whatever devasting circumstances come thier way.
Starbucks is inspiring others by their commitment to their employees, their vision for helping the growers in Africa, and their beliefs and practice in supporting the "green" movement.
Disney practices the principle of tapping into the dreams of others and then aligning those dreams with the customer's experience.
Consumers actually found the encounter with Southwest Airlines employees to be more inspiring than low fares.
SAS was the only business to business company on the list of Most inspiring Companies. And it is apparent that their commitment to their employees is known and recognized by consumers as being inspiring.
Consumer's recognize and appreciate Dell's ability to make them feel affirmed and empowered.
Consumers seem to love the happiness factor around Coke these days. They especially appreciate how Coke has demonstrated their commitment to giving back to communities around the world.
Berkshire Hathaway is perceived as being inspiring based on the enthusiasm of it's stock holders, referred to as simply "Berkshire people."
Consumers love this company's vision to make the world a better place for people in the world who cannot afford to buy a pair of shoes. Their buy one and give one pair away model has inspired many to get behind them to support their mission.
Being associated with community activities has caused consumers to think of Pepsi as an inspiring company. Their commitment to help make the world a better place in particular for people who cannot afford food is recognized and valued by consumers. Pepsi has also embraced inspiration as central to it's brand.
Consumers think of Costco as an inspiring company because of their ability to create a sense of community in their stores.
Pushing up the inspiration factor in a company seems to have a positive impact on almost every metric on the balanced score card of business. At one time inspiration was considered just fluff - something to bring out during company meetings or when it was time to "motivate" employees or to stir up creative types. But there are things about being inspirational that will even cause number crunching accountant types to smile. Not quite to the point of becoming a new category, it is certainly considered as a driver for employee engagement, meaningful customer experiences, and ultimately the bottom line.
Based on some of the names on the Most Inspiring Company list, you might assume that brand recognition has more to do with it than truly being inspiring. Yet, if that were simply the case then it begs the question, why didn't companies like GM, IBM or HP make the list? And how did a company such as Tom's Shoes make the list? It became very clear that the Most Inspiring Companies operate at a different level than do other companies. What was learned was that every single company suggested as Most Inspiring, could be credited for championing at least one of seven principles of inspiration:
 1911. Principles of Scientific Management <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principles_of_Scientific_Management> . New York and London, Harper & brothers.
 The 19 public companies on the list had an average stock price appreciation of 56% between April 1, 2009 and April 1, 2010. The DJI, the S&P 500 and NASDAQ went up 41%, 45% and 55% respectively over this same period.
For questions or requests for comments on this research, please contact Terry Barber at: email@example.com
Most Inspiring Companies Webinar Slides
Lessons from America's Most Inspiring Companies.
Morningside Report on Inspiration Fund
The only fund in the world that is managed by consumers. Check out the Morningside Report to learn more. In response to our pubished report of just how well the Most Inspiring Companies in America did as a group compared to the S&P, we have faciliated the formation of a managed fund made up of those same publically traded companies.