By Rex Hammock

In a few weeks, Hammock Inc. will be 25 years old. While only a small percentage of businesses last a quarter century, our tenure isn’t as impressive as that of some of our clients. Indeed, one client just celebrated an anniversary a full century longer than ours.

On the 50th anniversary of the magazine McKinsey Quarterly, Ian Davis, former managing partner of McKinsey & Company and now Rolls Royce Holdings chairman, outlined some of the keys to business longevity.

I was struck by how many of the themes Davis includes are the types of communication and management priorities we have tried to incorporate in our work for the past 25 years, as well as emphasize in Idea Emails during the past three years.

Here is a condensed version of his “reflections on corporate longevity”:

Relentlessly focus on your customers | Constantly seek out what your best and most innovative customers are doing.

Engage your key suppliers | Let suppliers help you solve problems and identify opportunities so that these activities also become key sources of insight.

Avoid introversion | Actively seek to understand broader trends outside your own organizations and industries.

Challenge legacy thinking and mindsets | Tolerate, even encourage, the cost of internal competition and cannibalization.

Avoid hubris | Create a culture of dissatisfaction with current performance, however good.

Focus relentlessly on values | Encourage the judgment of a company’s values by actions and behavior, not words and mission statements.

Engage younger generations | Stimulate innovation and prevent generational barriers.

Engage older generations | Use them to provide context and wisdom and help prevent generational barriers.

Bottom line for marketers: Success, as measured by longevity, is a metric of how well you help your customers succeed—not how much you sell to them. It’s the measurement of how deeply customers view your marketing as help, not hype.

(Photo: Thinkstock)