If I told you that I think you're a Disruptor, would you be insulted? Would you feel like a child who's being scolded for disorderly conduct, or for distracting the rest of the class? Or would you take it as a compliment? Knowing that I see you as a master of Brand Awareness?
Being a disruptor in branding, marketing—and business, in general—means you're getting the kind of attention that will create and build Brand Awareness.
When you're innovative enough (and brave enough) to earn the title of Disruptor, it can be assumed that you've caused a few of the following in your industry:
- Reassessment of Value: When you offer something that's not only unexpected, but more appealing that what's been available, you will cause consumers to question the high value they've placed on the things they've been giving their attention to and spending their money on. In other words, when you come forward with something so surprising and welcomed, it casts a shadow on the others, decreasing their perceived value.
- Increased Competition: This doesn't necessarily mean that the number of competitors will increase; it does, however, mean that the intensity of competition will be amplified. When you're a disruptor, you instil fear in the hearts of all those who have come before you. They were the big dogs for a period of time, and now they're being confronted with the idea that their run of the park is in jeopardy.
- Looks that say, "Who's this Guy?": Disruptors are usually the new kids on the block, and arrive with the intention of challenging the status quo and gaining attention (i.e. brand awareness) with unconventional tactics. This can cause some sideways glances (and some downright nasty stares) from the unimaginative monopolisers who have been sailing through, unquestioned. Don't let it get to you. They're just worried that you're going to outshine them.
- Noted Interest from Ideal Customers: If you come along with something that's easier, more effective, more fun or just plain different, you're going to get the kind of attention that's highly contagious. Not only do consumers want better solutions to old problems and effective solutions to new problems, they get a charge out of seeing someone buck the system that they have, in some cases, come to loathe.
If you have found yourself questioning the status quo or feeling certain that there's a better way, then you have the heart of a Disruptor—and now is a great time to start learning how to use that to create impressive brand awareness, followed by unrivalled market domination.
Be Disruptive, for Better Brand Awareness
Let's be clear: if you're worried about inciting your competitors, or if you have some deep-seated fear of success, then being a Disruptor isn't for you.
If, however, you have notions of being a market leader who owns large quantities of your target audience's mindshare, then do these things:
- Innovate with Purpose. Disruptors are creative for the sake of life-changing innovation. They see gaps in current offerings and fill them so well that they overflow with benefits. Disruptors are not, however, different just for the sake of being different. There's a purpose behind everything they do.
- Prepare to Fail. If you've spent any amount of time with How to Build a Brand, you should know that around here, failure isn't a bad thing. In fact, it's a great indicator of progress. If you want to be a disruptor, get ready for more failure than the average business owner. You see, you're not going to play it safe. You're going to risk bigger, fail bigger and win bigger.
- Know your Industry. This is huge. How are you going to dominate and out-think the competition if you're not willing to get to know—I mean really know—the market you wish to disrupt? Know your customers, know your competitors, know what's been tried, know what's expected and what's grown stale, know what's failed and what's succeeded...and understand that all of that is just the beginning.
- Build a Disruptive Power Team. Every successful brand needs a power team; however, this could go very wrong if you plan to disrupt with the wrong power team. Make sure they're on-board with your disruptive dreams before you hire them. No shrinking violets and no anti-team players allowed.
- Prepare for Commitment. Being a disruptor and fielding all the brand awareness that comes with it aren't tasks for the faint of heart—or for the sleep-until-noon type. You're going to have to work harder, and put in longer hours, than the business owner who chooses to follow tradition. Choose something you're passionate about, so commitment won't be a problem.
- Get Comfortable with Being an Outsider. The disruptors you look up to are cool. They're revered by their customers and other business professionals. It all seems very glamorous until you consider that they didn't begin like that. When they started, they were the black sheep; the ones who no one wanted to believe in. However, they stuck with it and now look at them. You're going to go through some dark times on your journey to disruptor status. Endure. Fight. You'll make it.
- Learn to Dismiss Non-Constructive Criticism. Disruptors have lots of critics—especially when they're new to the market. Get yourself a mentor whom you trust and learn to overlook the naysayers who do not have your best interests in mind. It won't be long before you start to see useless criticism as compliments in disguise.
- Stop Following Instructions. I'm not talking about breaking the law here. What I am talking about is not following along blindly. In order to be a disruptor, you have to stop listening to Pavlov's bell; stop filling the role of lemming. You want to get ahead by being different, so you're going to have to question everything you've come to know as "normal."
Are you ready? Are you excited to build brand awareness by doing business as a Disruptor? I think that's great news, and you're going to find yourself in great company. Some of the most famous brand builders in history have been disruptive, including Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey.
I am working to establish myself as a great Disruptor, and would love for you to join me and the rest of the brilliant business owners I call "my club." In the Brand Builders Club, we're working to build brands that the world notices. Check us out by being a guest at one of our strategy events. I promise it will be one day that gives you the power to change your entire life!