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Blog #1: Embracing the Timeless Wisdom of the Golden Rule

Blog #1: Embracing the Timeless Wisdom of the Golden Rule


Welcome to the Golden Rule, an occasional series of blogs, vlogs, and articles by Tim Mason and Sarah Jarvis on the subject of "The Golden Rule."

We mentioned the Golden Rule four times in our recently published book, Omnichannel Retail, but felt there was so much more to say. So here we go…

Omnichannel Retail - 2nd Edition


I first came across the Golden Rule in a business context when reading Fred Reichheld’s book, "The Loyalty Effect," in 1997. At the time, I was the CMO at Tesco, working under Sir Terry Leahy. It had been almost two years since we had launched Tesco Clubcard, which was performing remarkably well. However, inspired by Reichheld, we were able to crystalize our purpose further and sharpen our strategy.

We already had a clearly stated guiding principle for the organization in our "Every Little Helps" slogan but developed our overarching mission to "create value for customers to earn their lifetime loyalty", mainly because Reichheld had so clearly demonstrated that loyalty should be our ultimate quest.

To achieve this, we said that "no one would try harder for customers than Tesco" and that we would 'treat people the way they would like to be treated' – following the Golden Rule that Reichheld references on four occasions in his first book.

And it worked.

During the ensuing 15 or so years, I had the privilege of witnessing firsthand Tesco’s remarkable growth, which was achieved because of following these guidelines.

"In their dealings with people, loyalty leaders tend to ignore modern management theory in favor of a code of behavior that is close to the Golden Rule, or as we will see in the case of several hugely successful companies, the Golden Rule itself. These companies demonstrate that loyalty to principles is a critical element of success even in today’s super-competitive environment."

Fred Reichheld, "The Loyalty Effect"

Fred Reichheld, “The Loyalty Effect”

But Tesco is not the only business to have won by operating this way. In Reichheld’s most recent book, "Winning on Purpose: The Unbeatable Strategy of Loving Customers", published in 2022, he documents case study after case study of organizations achieving remarkable results by following this principle. This brilliant book was written while Fred was seriously ill and with the passion and urgency of needing to get it said, just in case. Fred – we hope you are doing well. You are an inspiration, and we hope we do you justice.

By the way, Fred is also the inventor of NPS. More about that on another day.

What is the Golden Rule?

In its simplest form, the Golden Rule instructs us to "treat people the way you would like to be treated." Jesus expressed it in Matthew 7.12 as, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, for this sums up the law and the prophets."

The universality of this principle is evident, with similar teachings found in various cultural and religious traditions:

  • The Torah says, "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself", but it goes much further and wider:
  • Confucian tradition: "Be loyal to the principles of your heart and treat others with the same loyalty."
  • Hindu Mahabharata: "This is the sum of duty. Do not unto others that which would cause you pain if done to you."
  • Buddha: "Whatever is disagreeable to yourself, do not do unto others."
  • The Prophet Muhammad: "As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don’t do to them."

So, the Golden Rule is centuries old and is pretty much a universal belief. I don’t know about you, but we believe that a little bit more of it in practice every day would make the world a much better place. Hence, this blog.

Or, as Fred puts it, "Every time you treat someone right - the way you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes - you are building your reputation and making the world a better place, one life at a time."

What does all of this mean to Eagle Eye?

Steve Rothwell, the founder of Eagle Eye, is a firm believer in the Golden Rule. It’s the very reason he founded the company back in 2003.

Working as an engineer at Ericsson during the early days of SMS, Steve recognized the untapped potential for businesses to treat customers how they would like to be treated. He envisioned tailoring communications and offers to each individual’s preferences and needs, executed digitally.

Two decades later, Eagle Eye’s mission is to drive the personalized marketing revolution globally by adhering to the Golden Rule. We achieve this by delivering solutions that help our clients treat their individual customers the way they would like to be treated - by understanding their preferences, anticipating their needs, and providing them with tailored experiences, all to foster customer loyalty.

Next time

In our next blog, we’ll explore why following the Golden Rule leads to superior business performance.

What can you do?

We invite you to participate in the #GoldenRule revolution. Leave your comments and share examples of where you’ve experienced the Golden Rule in action. Let’s celebrate those who are embracing this principle and making the world a better place, one act of kindness at a time.

Here’s one to kick things off:

I had the privilege of dining at the incredible JAAN by Kirk Westaway in Singapore, and during my meal, I witnessed an extraordinary act of kindness.

I was eating alone, soaking up the atmosphere, when a table of four individuals, communicating through sign language, were seated near me, clearly celebrating a birthday. My server, Dorothy, went to look after them and started communicating with them using sign language. I was moved and asked her when she came back to my table where she had learned to sign. She explained that she had taught herself when she was around 14 and, while not an expert, could understand it.

Later, Chef Kirk was doing the rounds of the tables, and I told him how impressed I was by Dorothy. He shared that a hearing-impaired couple had dined there a few weeks prior, and their friends had booked because of Dorothy’s exceptional service.

A stunning location, brilliant food, and a charming chef made truly remarkable by the wonderful Dorothy making the world a better place one life at a time. #goldenrule #loyalty.

Until next time.

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