Positive Disruption Is a Crucial Force

Andy Arvidson

Positive disruption is a critical trend in business. Companies can be left behind if they continue to do things the same way. Businesses need to focus on products and services that are better, more innovative, make a statement, and enhance the customer experience.

Successful disruption requires great manufacturing, distribution, and service. According to brand strategist Stephen Abbot, ”Brand value – the intangible equity derived from a desirable and reliable experience – is rooted in moments of ‘positive disruption.’ Within every experience, a brand has opportunities to disrupt our expectations – disrupt what is generic and familiar – and imprint memories.”

Here are some of the most disruptive companies:

  • Airbnb: Brian Chesky now wants to move into the online flight-booking space and compete with companies like Expedia and Priceline.
  • Amazon: Online and brick-and-mortar retail business are forever changed by Amazon. Amazon knows it is critical to have an excellent online and retail presence, which is emphasized by the Whole Foods acquisition. This is all about enhancing the customer experience with convenience and saving the customer money. Amazon Studios now is competing with major entertainment studios for film content. Amazon is creating its own delivery network to compete with FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service. Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, makes a huge statement on complacency: “A company shouldn’t get addicted to being shiny, because shiny doesn’t last.” And on progress, he says, “If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”
  • Apple: Constant innovation! Tim Cook says, “Some people see innovation as change, but we have never really seen it like that. It’s making things better.”
  • Beachbody: This business shook up the fitness industry! Beachbody provides at-home DVD workouts with celebrity trainers based on muscle confusion and proper nutrition. They sell fitness with direct response television, multi-level marketing, e-commerce, and individual coach consultants.
  • Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg says, “In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
  • FedEx: Fred Smith famously wrote a term paper at Yale that invented an industry of time-sensitive shipments and changed what’s possible. Smith’s professor apparently didn’t see the revolutionary implications of his thesis –and the paper supposedly received a C grade (or lower).
  • Fox: The broadcaster recently made time for the new and very effective six-second commercials now airing during NFL and college football games.
  • MTC Expo: The rebranding of the Response Expo to the MTC Expo was surprising at first. Why change an established show name attendees are comfortable with and know? The simple answer is that this rebranding disruption was imperative given the changing nature of the marketplace. The status quo just was not the long-term solution. This is all about positive disruption in a marketplace with a new specific, solid focus on media, technology, and commerce.
  • SpaceX and Tesla: Elon Musk says, “If there’s a need for something to be disrupted – and it’s important to the future of the world – then, sure, we can disrupt it.”
  • Uber: New CEO Dara Khosrowshahi plans on updating the ride-sharing giant’s struggling culture and states, “I feel strongly that culture needs to be written from the bottom up.” New culture norms based on over 1,000 employee comments include “acting like owners,” “making bold bets,” and being “customer obsessed.” Uber has signed a partnership with NASA for its flying taxi plans and is trying to have flights tested in Los Angeles by 2020.
  • Virgin: Richard Branson emphasizes disruption, saying it “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.”

Rebranding disruption is exactly what is needed for many companies. Most people look at disruption as unwelcome and threatening. But positive disruption is the exact opposite, leading to change and growth.

Are you promoting positive disruption in your business?