Companies must innovate constantly and be customer-centric to differentiate themselves, realizing that product life cycles don’t last forever, advises Leonard Sherman, author of “If You’re In A Dogfight, Become A Cat!: Strategies for Long-Term Growth,” who discussed his book during a recent interview with Knowledge@Wharton.

Sherman, a former senior partner at Accenture, says companies that try to compete with me-too products are like dogs fighting for territorial dominance, which ultimately leads to a competitive blur.

Instead, companies should act more like cats, which change the rules and find their own space. Through continuous innovation that drives meaningful differentiation, companies can create new value propositions for their customers.

Sherman cites Yellow Tail wine as an example of a cat-like business. Recognizing the difficulty of breaking into the established wine market, with its jargon and complexity, Yellow Tail differentiated itself by offering a “fun, approachable, nonpretentious, affordable, casual everyday wine” that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Sherman also stresses the necessity of being customer-centric, noting that the companies with the most impressive and profitable growth track records over the last 20 years are those that embrace the importance of delivering superior customer service—it’s who they are and why they’re in business.

See the full interview: “Cats vs. Dogs: How Feline Agility in Business Leads to Long-term Growth.”