The five ways directionless brands destroy your bottom line

You know your brand is directionless when none of your marketing looks consistent, no one in your organisation seems to be telling the same story, every new initiative is ad hoc and no one has any idea where you are going or what the brand strategy is.


There are a number of ways brands can become directionless. Lack of organisational understanding of what the business stands for and its purpose, or the customer value proposition. Little empathy for customers and an inability to create customer experiences that delight – not just satisfy.


Poor guidelines around how the brand should be managed, so people are free to do whatever they want. A revolving door of people coming in and out of marketing roles means constant changes in direction and ideas. Finally, a lack of a strong vision from the top to keep people pointed in the right direction.


Whatever the reason, here are the five ways your directionless brand is destroying your bottom line:

#1 Price becomes the only differentiator

If you don’t know what differentiates your brand, then your customers certainly won’t. People are spoilt for choice in every aspect of their work and personal lives and they are discerning with their money. They don’t just want to buy good products and services, they want to buy brands that share their values and have a clear sense of purpose. Directionless brands find themselves fighting for customers on price, because next to brands that are clear about who they are, they appear untrustworthy and of poor value.

#2 Customers desert for a better experience

Customer-centric brands such as Uber are redefining customer expectations, not just in the taxi industry, but in every industry! It is not enough to simply ‘meet expectations’ to succeed. The go-to customer ratings measure, Net Promoter Score, which askes one basic question “How likely is it that you would recommend our organisation” rates a score of 8 (or less) out of 10 as a failure to meet customer expectations! As directionless brands have failed to do the hard work of defining themselves, they don’t have a clear customer experience strategy and no effective way to make every brand encounter a delight.

#3 Staff leave because they see no clear future

Good people want to work for organisations that know where they are going and have a clearly articulated purpose. Directionless brands kill morale. They make it hard for good people to find meaning, do their best work and make a difference. So eventually the people you really need in your business, the ones with real passion and a drive to make a dent, will leave and work for brands that know who they are and what they want to achieve.

#4 Paying for creative services you don’t need

There is a reason the leading brands develop clear brand guidelines. They set out how things should be done so someone doesn’t have to be paid to think about it. If every piece of marketing or communication your organisation creates looks different, it’s because you’re paying someone’s salary, or a creative agency, to make it look that way.

#5 Endless internal meetings looking for answers

When brand strategy is made up on the run you’ll inevitably find yourself tied up in endless internal meetings looking for answers. As no one in your organisation knows where the brand is going there will be continuous chopping and changing, and ruminating over each and every new idea. This all takes time, costs valuable productivity and distracts attention from what really matters – loving your customers.

Jaimie Ratten
Managing Director, DIA Brands Australia
Phone +61 8 6243 3410.