By James Forrest

piguesI’ve spent the last decade working with a great variety of business leaders across multiple industries in the Triangle and North Carolina. We’re blessed with a diverse economy here in the Raleigh-Durham area, with industries ranging from technology to healthcare, bolstered by some of the world’s largest companies and a fresh crop of rising startups year after year.

In my work here, I have the privilege of meeting some of the most talented executives and entrepreneurs you’ll find anywhere. Among them is D. Keith Pigues, noted business advisor, author, speaker, professor, and founder of Forrest Firm client Luminas Strategy.

Launched this past August, Luminas Strategy is a unique play in the world of management consulting firms, in that the firm has a singular focus: helping Fortune 1000 companies understand, measure, and improve their value proposition. As Luminas clients develop this understanding, measurement, and improvement of their respective value propositions, they are able to accelerate the value they create and capture with their customers.

I quickly understood that this unique focus would set Luminas Strategy apart from practically every other management consulting firm, but I wanted to know whether this was easier or harder for Keith and his team from a business and relationship development perspectives. “It’s a lot easier,” he told me, when we sat down recently, “to focus on a very important area—the value proposition—that can be a real challenge for many companies in today’s environment. Clients need help in this area to make better decisions and invest resources with better insight and intelligence to accelerate growth and profitability.”

Pigues and his group of consultants bring insights to the process through the company’s trademarked tool, the Customer Value Xcelerator. “The CVX™ brings together customer insight and competitive intelligence to improve value propositions. This makes it a lot easier on us than trying to be a shop focused on 15 different areas of the business.”

According to Pigues, Luminas Strategy’s engagements result in specific action plans to improve value propositions, and thus profits, as a result. “Our action plans aren’t ‘pie in the sky.’ To the contrary, they’re very strategic and practical in nature. We don’t implement the solutions, but we make the recommendations that drive more profitable outcomes.”

The genius of the Luminas model is the deceptive nature of its simplicity. Value proposition is actually a complex concept, and as we discussed, full of sub-topics that can keep the Luminas team and its clients quite busy improving companies during multi-month engagements. In one client engagement, Luminas helped management understand a better investment mix for its products, sales, and customer service. For another client, Keith’s team determined that the company’s pricing model undervalued its client impact, thus calling for a price increase to capture more value for the company. Finally, a client learned how to prioritize growth and innovation opportunities from Luminas Strategy’s analysis of the company’s customer feedback. The company also added several previously-unknown innovation opportunities from listening to its customers in a guided exercise.

We are very proud to have Keith Pigues and Luminas Strategy as clients at the Forrest Firm, and we can already say that he is helping us through another of his ventures, his latest book. Winning with Customers: A Playbook for B2B is a fantastic read for any business-to-business product or service provider and has been deservedly recognized in the inaugural Best Seller TV list for the C-Suite TV Book Club.

The cover of the book says it all with one hard-hitting question: do your customers make more money doing business with you? As Keith and I talked about the ideas powering the book, he told me that 95 percent of people he meets at business conferences can’t honestly tell if they help customers make more money. This bodes well for Luminas’ growth prospects.
With Winning with Customers, Pigues encourages you to focus on the things that are most valuable to your customers. “Too often, we think only about our own profitability. Instead, we need to think about how we’re impacting the customer’s bottom line compared to the next guy that’s serving them, and even more so with each passing month and year.”

“You should always ask yourself these questions when thinking about your customers: “What am I doing now (is it making my customer more money or not)? What am I going to do about it (to improve my value proposition and the money customers make doing business with me)? What am I going to do to win with that customer (to take specific actions to accelerate growth and profit one customer or market at a time)?”

For more information on Luminas Strategy, visit the company’s website at For further reading on Keith Pigues, check out this article from his personal website.