Gabazira's blog

The Effectiveness-Lab

What will ultimately kill your brand?

Every organisation has a purpose for doing what it does. Organisations are living organisms – purposeful and with life. We are yet to come across an organisation that has been formed to do nothing. Even shell-companies, for those interested in the dark-world of tax evasion, have a purpose.

So, if organisations have a life and therefore personality, they should also have some kind of OD metabolism. The personality is the organisation’s brand – liked or hated by others.

Your brand’s viability boils down to such complex metabolism

Like humans, an organisation’s OD metabolism is a chemical process that occurs to maintain the life of the brand.

Human metabolism has two opposite chemical processes, and both are needed for the human body to function optimally. Constructive-metabolism synthesises proteins, carbohydrates, and fats which form tissue and stores energy. On the other hand, destructive-metabolism breaks down complex substances to produce energy and waste matter.

Organisations need to strike a balance between constructive and destructive metabolism. Failing to do so will ultimately kill the brand

A brand’s constructive-metabolism are the value-creation processes that happen inside the organisation. Value creating assets are reserved within the organisation, like the tissue and energy in human beings. However, this value can’t sit idle.  It has to be channelled outside the company, for the company to fulfil its purpose. This external exertion of a brand’s value is its destructive-metabolism. The latter allows the exchange of value between the internal workings of the brand and its clients. The firm provides a service or good and the client pays money in return.

Companies can stumble when trying to get their OD metabolic balance right. When companies stumble, clients disengage with the brand. And when clients disconnect, the conduit that gets created-value out of the company into the client world gets clogged and ultimately blocked.

In effect, the company’s destructive OD metabolism stops to work. When that happens, the company’s constructive OD metabolism also starts to fail. From this chain of events, you will begin to see events that will choke the company. For example, unsold stock accumulation, declining demand for the brand’s services, cashflow problems, and ultimately the death of the brand

Is your brand affable?

According to, there are many causes of client disengagement with a particular brand. But two factors caught the attention of the Effectiveness lab:

  1. Unresponsive customer service
  2. Making the same mistake more than twice

Apparently, clients the world over, don’t like it when companies don’t respond to their requests for support. Clients also become uneasy when companies make the same mistake twice.

Yet, companies continue to make the same mistakes all the time and don’t do a good job responding to customers.

What factors drive these brand-killing behaviours in companies?

  • Running complex machine bureaucracies – complex bureaucracies spend significant chunks of their time managing internal complexity and are left with little time to service client needs. Bureaucracies slowly but surely destroy their value-creation circuits. Complex organisations just won’t pay enough attention to customer touch points – and it’s the mastery of the customer journeys that enables brands to create excellent value-packages for clients.
  • Significant barriers to entry in an industry sector – when an industry sector has substantial barriers to entry, a few companies tend to control the market. This is a perfect segue way to forming powerful monopolies, duopolies and oligopolies. The sheer power of such entities puts customer interests second and their culture and bottom lines first
  • Running monopolies, duopolies and oligopolies – companies in this kind of arrangement can manipulate demand and supply. They use powerful supply controls to manipulate demand. If demand is guaranteed in the medium and long-term, customer-support activity dollars can be saved to bolster the bottom line. Mistakes become normal and accepted elements of the value chain. Good example – mobile phone industry
  • Insularity – an insular organisation culture, helped by favourable industry environments like barriers to entry into an industry sector by other firms, helps sustain such inward-looking practices. When culture is insular, not a lot of attention is paid to customer matters. After all, in many instances, they still have to buy from the firm as they have nowhere else to go. Insular organisations think about themselves first and clients second
  • Organisational vitals disconnect – The effectiveness lab has shared four levers that shape an organisation’s OD metabolism – leadership, strategy, architecture and people. When all four vitals aren’t working in sync, specific symptoms manifest at a company: hiring staff that don’t have the right skills, a weak accountability culture, and bad strategy

Classic brands don’t require industry sector favours like monopolies, barriers to entry, etc to thrive and outlive their founders. They just do what is needed of them and boast of affable brands. Their constructive and destructive OD metabolism dynamic is balanced

Those brands that choose to depend on industry sector favours shall die – it’s only a matter of time

Brands that will win in a tough marketplace are affable


4 responses to “What will ultimately kill your brand?”

  1. Mbuuze muuna, ndi nonhya meere ya leero!!


    1. Ok – we need to talk


  2. Unresponsive customer service is the deadliest brand killer, especially in this current marketing trends where the only competitive strategy is derived from customer service! Customers follow brand names that care and care is such a long list of activities. Brand drivers, ………please let’s talk…………………about the activities (inbox).


    1. Seddu sebbo – obuuze! Thanks for reading the blog and your insight – appreciated


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About Me

Apollo B. Gabazira is an Ugandan OD. junkie fascinated by matters that render organisations/individuals effective or not. He blogs on effective leadership and management. He is a devoted green-farmer and breeds the Ayrshire cow at Nakabugu, Luuka district, Uganda. Apollo is quite effective at what he chooses to do.


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