Frédéric Dalsace

Professor of Marketing and Strategy

Frédéric Dalsace is Professor of Marketing and Strategy and Co-Director of IMD’s Leading Customer-Centric Strategies (LCCS) program. He focuses on two distinct areas – B2B issues such as customer centricity, buyer-seller relationships, and value management, and sustainability, inclusive business models, and alleviating poverty.

He believes that companies need to rethink their approach to customer centricity. He says many organizations only consider customer centricity when they are defining their offers, but that they also need to incorporate it into the value delivery and value capture dimensions of their business models. One way of doing this is through risk-sharing business models including fully service-based offerings, such as Rolls Royce’s Power by the Hour model, or performance-based and outcome-based contracts in which payments depend on the value created, with the result that the interests of suppliers and customers are aligned.

Risk-sharing business models are also relevant in Dalsace’s work on sustainability because they lead to more circular and more efficient solutions. He previously worked with 2006 Nobel prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus on inclusive business models and is currently helping firms to integrate sustainability into their broader strategy by making the business case for sustainability, for example. Many companies have been naive about sustainability and have made the mistake of decoupling it from their overall strategy, he says.

Firms have to fundamentally redefine the way they think about customer centricity; developing products and services that customers desire is only the beginning.

Dalsace is also collaborating with IMD’s Professor of Strategy Arnaud Chevallier on a project to identify and evaluate the types of questions that leaders should be asking of those around them. As this is not something that is formally taught, leaders tend to learn by doing, which can lead to blind spots. Using a database of more than 600 executives, the pair have therefore developed a template for the types of questions that leaders need to ask – and how to ask them.

He has worked with a range of firms including Atlas Copco, UCB, Valmet, VAT Group, Grundfos, MANE, Porsche, and STADA, and he has been published in academic journals such as Harvard Business Review, Business Horizons, Strategic Management Journal, and Revue Française de Gestion.

Before joining IMD in 2019 he was a Professor at HEC Paris for 16 years, holding the Social Business/Enterprise and Poverty Chair, and he has won numerous awards for his teaching, research, and publications.

Prior to his academic career, he held a series of senior positions in the business world, including marketing roles at Michelin and CarnaudMetalbox and as a strategy consultant with McKinsey.

Selected publications
Article
Mindset drives success : Selling beneficial products at the base of the pyramid
Why are so few organizations selling beneficial products at the base of the pyramid (BoP) successful? This is not simply a story of companies failing, and it is one with a dramatic consequence as l...
Published 1 July 2021
Article
The friend or foe fallacy: Why your best customers may not need your friendship
Organizational transactions are handled along a continuum of the firm’s customer relationships, ranging from relational and friendly to more adversarial and us-versus-them in demeanor. For top cust...
Published 1 August 2017
Article
Reaching the rich world’s poorest consumers
Almost 120 million people in the European Union are classified as at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Although many companies offer low-cost products and services, they have largely ignored the...
Published 1 March 2015
Book
L’entreprise contre la pauvreté
L’économie sociale et l’entrepreneuriat solidaire apparaissent de plus en plus comme les porteurs possibles de réponses innovantes face à la crise. En cherchant à réinventer son rôle social et à se...
Published 31 October 2011
Academic publications
Article
Mindset drives success : Selling beneficial products at the base of the pyramid
Why are so few organizations selling beneficial products at the base of the pyramid (BoP) successful? This is not simply a story of companies failing, and it is one with a dramatic consequence as l...
Published 1 July 2021
Article
Structurer le débat «entreprises et pauvretés»: Légitimité, intérêt, modalité, efficacité
La relation « entreprises-pauvreté » s’est profondément transformée ces dernières années : la logique naturelle de recherche de nouveaux marchés d’une part, et la maturité des stratégies de RSE d’a...
Published 3 January 2011
Article
The friend or foe fallacy: Why your best customers may not need your friendship
Organizational transactions are handled along a continuum of the firm’s customer relationships, ranging from relational and friendly to more adversarial and us-versus-them in demeanor. For top cust...
Published 1 August 2017
Article
Getting involved: BoP vs Social Business
Two initiatives providing a way for profit-making firms to play a role in alleviating poverty have gained prominence over the last decade: Prahalad’s Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) model and Yunus’ So...
Published 1 January 2011
Insight for Executives
Article
Moving the needle on sustainability
Practically every day one company or another announces a new sustainability commitment or launches an ad campaign about how it’s helping people and the planet. Many of those initiatives focus on im...
Published 1 November 2022
Four sustainability strategies for your brand
Article
Four sustainability strategies for your brand
How do the brand sustainability strategies of Tony’s Chocolonely, Nespresso, Volvo and Vanish differ? And how can executives know which strategy to adopt?
Published 2 September 2022
Article
Customer centricity, un viaje sin línea de meta
Throughout his long professional career, Dalsace has advised dozens of multinationals. In addition to the role of business in poverty reduction and the development of business models, his area of r...
Published 21 November 2021
Article
Sustainability: Time to hit the brake or go full throttle?
Firms may need to readjust their strategies in the wake of the pandemic. In the concluding article in a two-part series, we offer advice on how this can be best achieved by using a combination of s...
Published 10 August 2021
Article
Sustainability post pandemic: The four scenarios for change
In the first in a two-part series, we examine the potential impact on attitudes towards preserving world resources in the wake of COVID-19.
Published 16 July 2021
Article
Fuse soft skills and digital for customer centricity on steroids
Technology alone cannot unlock all the answers for understanding customers. Companies must blend soft skills such as empathy, humility and audacity with digital innovation to achieve true customer ...
Published 13 May 2021
Article
Sustainability: From the drawing board into the business
The first steps towards creating a credible sustainable business, is to clearly frame what sustainability really means for your organization and ensure cross-organizational buy-in. When it comes t...
Published 19 April 2021
Leading in turbulent times webinar series: Sustainability
Video
Leading in turbulent times webinar series: Sustainability
Seeing the bigger picture of how society will tackle sustainability after the COVID-19 crisis
Published 17 April 2020
Image
Article
As the World Economic Forum takes place in Davos, Professor Frédéric Dalsace says Switzerland can become a hub for partnerships to reform capitalism
Published 22 January 2020
Article
Réformer le capitalisme: la chance de la Suisse
Switzerland hosted the League of Nations a hundred years ago, the first COP forty years ago and the WBCSD (corporate alliances to promote sustainability) twenty-five years ago. By organizing, hosti...
Published 9 November 2019
Article
Reaching the rich world’s poorest consumers
Almost 120 million people in the European Union are classified as at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Although many companies offer low-cost products and services, they have largely ignored the...
Published 1 March 2015
Article
Why should firms be concerned about the fight against poverty
The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not a new one. It has certainly acquired a very high profile in the last ten years or so, but for many businesses CSR is still simply a way o...
Published 31 July 2012
Report
The poverty penalty in France: How the market makes low-income populations poorer
What has come to be known as the poverty penalty – the additional cost paid for goods and services by the poor relative to the more affluent – is a familiar mechanism in emerging countries. For pro...
Published 31 May 2012
Article
En France, une "double peine"
L'économie de la pauvreté est à refonder. La conférence intitulée "La lutte contre la pauvreté entre don et marché", organisée le 6 mars à la Cité de l'architecture à Paris par la revue Facts et "L...
Published 5 March 2012
Article
Le marketing contre la pauvreté
Les nouvelles offres de l'économie sociale et solidaire séduisent un nombre suffisant de consommateurs, mais qui n'ouvrent guère leur porte-monnaie. C'est là que le marketing pourrait paradoxalemen...
Published 25 May 2010
Article
Les deux voies de l'économie sociale
David Menascé et Frédéric Dalsace, professeurs associés à HEC, explorent les différents contours de ce modèle économique qui connaît un regain d'intérêt à la faveur de la crise.
Published 16 April 2010
Article
L’entreprise compatible avec le social business
La question n’est pas nouvelle : les citoyens peuvent-ils faire confiance aux entreprises ? Face aux récents engagements sociétaux pris par certaines d’entre elles, son actualité est pourtant brûla...
Published 10 February 2010