August 10th, 2015
Getting lost while driving is an exasperating and maddening experience. We’ve all been there; we all hate it.
Tempers flare. Schedules crumble. Time shrinks. Deals implode. Chaos abounds.
Maps, which many can’t or won’t read, and GPS services exist to avoid such chaos.
Newsflash: Whether driving or branding, absent crystal-clear purpose and destination, even the slickest navigation system — paper or electronic — is useless.
Entropy in the Enterprise
Chaos — also known as entropy — in the enterprise is no different: it angers and enervates those who buy from, invest in, report on, and work for your company. It causes customers to shop elsewhere and employees to build fiefdoms, go rogue, and battle each other in the dreaded internecine wars — all of which subtract from your top and bottom lines.
The biggest source of entropy in the enterprise? A weak brand. When people get no or weak or confusing direction, they fill that vacuum in ways of their choosing. The brand, not the products, determines if the enterprise reaches its destination — and when.
Let me reiterate, from my book and previous articles: the brand is the tip of the arrowhead; with a dull one, that arrow will NOT hit its target. Shareholders expect you to hit the target.
That said, often the brand — the destination, the value proposition, the reason for being — is crystal-clear, but the navigation system betrays it. Apple Maps, for example, has taken me and millions of others to incorrect locations and deadends.
Likewise, marketing teams around the globe continue to employ ineffective social media as branding and selling megaphones — thereby diluting their brands and, consequently, raising their costs of sales, capital, and media.
Do You Run an Entroprise?
I’ll call the entropy-inflicted enterprise the entroprise. You’ve worked for entroprises. You’ve purchased from and partnered with entroprises. Do you run an entroprise? If so, end it.
Entroprises make bad hiring decisions, resist firing incompetent employees, implement poor policies, are slothful, develop off-target or inferior products, and are impossible to fathom.
Just the other day, my host deleted my website by mistake. Why? A tech-support employee blithely got the customers mixed up and almost ruined me. Nobody verified the deletion with me. Oops. My blood boiled! Good thing I pay for a nightly backup service. I’m still here.
Apple now wants to make cars. Hubris or pipedream? What will Apple’s brand become? This is an inchoate entroprise. Cisco once tried to be all things to all people, failed, then reverted to simplicity. Apple does not have the DNA to make and market and sell cars … and iPhones … and headphones … and watches … and TVs … and music … and computers.
Parting Advice to CEOs
Don’t create an entroprise; don’t allow one to develop, either. Constantly monitor your level of entropy — the cost of being lost — to ensure the latter.
If you’re running or have just joined an entroprise, end it.
Remember: branding is your #1 priority. A strong brand gets you to your destination at the lowest cost, via the optimal route, with the highest passenger satisfaction.
POSTSCRIPT #1: In 1982, Marc Rudov Proved That Conglomerates Have Suboptimal Value
About the Author
Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.
© 2015 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.