Disrupting the disruption


Do you remember when you were in high school and there was that group of people who wanted to be ‘alternative’ but inevitably ended up all looking like each other? Long hair (extra bonus if dirty), baggy trousers, a Che Guevara t-shirt, and maybe even a keffiyeh around the neck… you could spot them from miles away (and yes, I was one of them!). Well, that’s how I feel today about all of those companies that claim to be, or aspire to be, ‘disruptive’.

Only last week I received 3 articles from 3 different sources that were explaining the importance of being disruptive, how to be disruptive, how to make your team disruptive, etc…

While I’m not saying that disrupting the “norm” that everyone takes for granted is not a good idea, for example I don’t have anything in particular against baggy trousers, my questions is, if we are all trying to be the same, how are we exactly going to be ‘disruptive’?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, being disruptive means being innovative or ground breaking. Both meanings make a lot of sense in a world where technology is evolving at a speed never seen before. The world is changing, the way we communicate, the way we work, the way we interact are changing, and of course the relationship between customers and brands is also changing. Keeping up with these changes is not easy and brands need to be open minded, they need to embrace the changes and they need to think ahead, there is no question about it. But everybody trying to do the same thing just because it is the latest buzz word might not be so advisable, or even viable.

What I always suggest to my clients before embarking on any project is to look at your inner self. Look at the core of your brand, work with your people to define what needs to stay and what needs to evolve. Brands are not meant to be static, like anything else they need to evolve, change, and grow, and it’s critical to always be aware of what we are doing with our brands.

This is somehow similar to what happened with social media a few years back when all of a sudden all companies wanted to become ‘social’. The idea was a good one, but it was the way companies launched themselves into social media that proved tricky. Everybody wanted a piece of social media without understanding what social media really was, how to use it, and what platforms were relevant for their specific brand. The result was that a lot of brands had to learn the hard way how to use social media.

Nowadays the same seems to be happening with being ‘disruptive’.

Before launching a marketing campaign announcing how your company is ‘disruptive’ it is important to take a step back. First of all, are you really disruptive or simply embracing new technologies? Also, is disruption what your brand needs, what your clients want? If so, what innovative offer can you make that resonates with your brand, your goals, your audience? And what implications the disruption will have on the long run, will it be sustainable?

Don’t be disruptive for the sake of it. Be genuine, forward thinking, creative, responsive… embrace the new world but be the unique self that makes your clients choose you over your competitors.

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About the author: Giulia Iannucci is a strategic branding and marketing consultant, and founder of KnowThyBrand. From brand identity to logo design, from website creation to digital marketing strategy, KnowThyBrand offers a range of solutions for businesses that are starting their journey and those that are looking to find a new way. www.knowthybrand.com

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