Disruption and Why All the Cool Kids Are Doing It

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Technology and innovation have completely changed the game when it comes to marketing. Print ads have been overtaken by Facebook ads, and analytics and big data now allow us to market directly to a person based on their browser history and buying patterns. But consumers are on to that game and are taking the bait less often.


This is the primary reason why disruption is the #trending strategy on everyone’s lips. Disruption creates exciting brands and engenders consumer loyalty, but what is it and why does it work? And more importantly, how can it work for you and your brand?


Defining Disruption

Disruption is a term that’s been used to describe what happens when an entity uses a bold, often unexpected message to an audience and they “disrupt” their normal pattern of behavior as a result. Disruptive brands are like the cool girls in high school; they understand consumer trends before they become trends. They get there first, and they announce themselves loudly, and as a result, take a nice piece of market share with them, even when they are small companies up against large corporations.


Sir Richard Branson may explain it best, “Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising; it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there.” Disruption is just as much about the journey as the destination.


Why Businesses are Using Disruption

Disruptive brands have a huge margin of growth on average. They know that constant evolution is crucial to success. They are shaping consumer views on brand and marketplace. They are also usually (but not always) young companies with a very low risk-averse culture. They know that to grab consumer attention they need to be bold and different, and then adjust shortly after so as not to get stuck in the same marketing cycle. This is akin to a hyper-speed version of moving ads from roadside billboards to Facebook ads.


Most of all, disruptive brands engage and excite clients. This creates an army of influencers who independently advocate for a company’s products or services. Think about how you first learned about Uber, Airbnb, or Instagram. Most likely it was someone already using it who sang its praises. This is the beauty of disruption.


The Unusual Behaviors of Disruption

The whole purpose of disruption is to go against the grain to get a different result than the one currently in play. Take Uber, for example, the thought of getting into a stranger’s car, something everyone is conditioned from an early age not to do, is the entire basis of the service. What makes us get into that car? The creators of Uber gave the ease and comfort of an app. The app will track you in the car, and you can follow along on the map to make sure your driver is really taking you where you designated.


Now the consumer is comfortable, and they love the service. It’s easy to use and much cheaper than a cab. They tell their friends. Their kids are using it to come home from soccer practice. They use it in other cities and countries they visit.


It’s an idea that dares to challenge the norm, in this case, getting into a stranger’s car, that can be wildly profitable. That’s why disruption works. It changes set consumer patterns and as a result, makes success possible.


If you want to get your business on a disruptive path, start by asking yourself what big idea could disrupt your business segment? From there, consider if that idea could change behavior. If you think it could, it’s time to start putting it into gear. When it comes to disruption, the early bird gets all the worms.