Think about the giant pharmaceutical business. And how it seems to have, with few exceptions, lost its sense of direction, of shared meaning.
How does leadership feel to a stakeholder? The employee, the customer, the investor, the watchdog, the excluded?
So what about brand energy? It should be all about building a 'platform of meaning' between customers and organisations. Most of what I experience however - service, communications or both - creates the sinking feeling of brand entropy.
Meaning is treated here not as an attribute of information, but as a crucial part of human experience - the starting point, the platform, for most things good.
What happens to our human experience when we habitually have access to mobile phones, Internet, endless data, and of course, each other?
Homo sapiens is distinguished from the rest of the animal kingdom by our thinking, our feeling, our use of tools, and so on. But above all, we are creatures of meaning.
Most knowledge management systems end up as archives of documents that are more or less ignored in real day-to-day practice. The good stuff is personal, social in nature. What we really need access to is not information – it's experience, expertise and assurance.
Instead of taking energy and supporting it, growing it and serving it, most marketing campaigns ignore, dilute, or at worst, try to divert or block that energy. All the do is create entropy.
Take a journey into the near-future, where the immense power of the network, combined with the decline in shared meaning, will pose huge questions to established brands.
Some organisations - by-words for excellence and innovation in what they do - are already managing for meaning. They build tremendous energy around themselves, simply by doing what they do. But how?
The two critical management disciplines from here on are Leadership and Branding. But both must dramatically adjust their focus and activity if they are to be in any sense effective.
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