Entropy is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. It is the tendency for systems to move from states of order to states of disorder. Line up all of the toys on a child’s shelf, and soon they will end up scattered all over the floor. Clean up your to-do list, and by the end of the week you will need to re-organize yourself. It’s easy to see why entropy is so powerful when you consider that the ordered state is only one of millions of possibilities for the system; disorder is much more probable than order.
Entropy can dilute your customer experience, if you do not have a strong brand essence that acts as a glue to hold together all of the elements of the experience. The reason for this is simple – there are thousands of different ways a particular customer interaction can happen, but only a few of these possibilities will reinforce your brand story and add to the sense of Brand Harmony that your customers perceive.
Consider a very simple example. You own a athletic shoe store, and you believe that you can differentiate your store by asking a customer to describe his personal exercise habits, and the aches and pains he gets from exercise, in order to find the perfect pair of shoes to fit his needs. Your website and in-store signage describe this brand promise, and you, personally, deliver this promise when you wait on customers. Now, think about what happens when another employee serves a customer. The “right” ways to interact with a customer make up only an infinitesimal portion of the possible ways to interact with a customer. So, if this employee doesn’t have a strong sense of your brand promise, and doesn’t feel the essence of the brand in her bones, it is highly likely that she will not support the brand when she interacts with customer. The result: It is more likely that a customer interaction will dilute your brand promise than it is likely that it will support your brand promise. Brand entropy is more likely than brand reinforcement.
If you want a strong brand, you need to be one of the (few) companies who define their brand essence with great richness and detail, and ensure that everyone who works in the company understands the promise, with equal richness and detail. This takes a lot of effort, but, then again, entropy is one of the most powerful forces in the universe.