7 ways disruption can fuel brand growth

June 20, 2018 6:00 pm

Is it time to think of disruption as a growth opportunity? It seems so.

Successful disruptive brands have shown tremendous and rapid growth over the past 10 years whereas the growth of more established brands seems dwarfed in comparison.

An analysis by Kantar Millward Brown of 2000 brands measured in the BrandZ™ global database over three years, between 2014 and 2017, found that fewer than one in 10 brands grew.


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Amazon is the archetypal disruptive brand. By making people’s lives simpler, less expensive and more convenient Amazon has grown its brand value by 2,228%, far outdistancing the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, which grew by a creditable 152%.

Sadly, Amazon is the exception, not the rule. Most brands were stuck in categories where no brand achieved significant growth. In the same three years Amazon doubled its brand value.

So how can a brand ensure it is one of the few that does grow? While every brand can’t be an Amazon, Netflix or Airbnb, just a 1% change in market share for an established brand can deliver significant growth.

The report documents how conventional brands can learn from the disruptors and create opportunities for growth if they add a little disruption into their marketing mix.

The report highlights exceptional success stories and 7 steps brands can take to increase sales and drive growth.

#1 Get out of the comfort zone

Most established brands operate in a comfort zone of business as usual. Existing practices and protocols encourage doing more of the same. Routine and inflexible budgeting limits creativity.

Any brand can be disruptive provided it does something different from the norm that creates new value for customers or unlocks its existing potential.


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“Our data suggest that any brand can be disruptive, provided it has the courage to do something different and meaningful,” Kantar Millward Brown report adds.

#2 Know what needs to change

Knowing how people think, feel and behave in relation to a brand can often reveal an immediate opportunity for growth.

The challenge for a well-differentiated brand is to identify what will make it more salient and meaningful to potential consumers, adds Kantar Millward Brown report.

#3 Know who values your brand

Most marketers assume that growth means attracting new buyers. But customers must be willing to pay a price, a fee or exchange personal information to use a brand, and the ability to command a price premium has significant profit implications.

Over half of all buyers, in almost every category Kantar Millward Brown studied, select brands first and then consider the price.

#4 Use consumer insight to inspire disruption

An established brand that lacks differentiation risks being commoditised. Product innovation is the obvious solution but it’s not the only one: design, distribution, customer service and communication strategy all offer the potential to change people’s appreciation of a brand, notes Kantar Millward Brown report.

#5 Invest to make a difference

Simply spending more will not produce disruptive returns.

“A great creative idea that fits the brand and the opportunity will be the best way for many brands to disrupt the status quo, whether it is realized in-market as an Alexa skill, a useful app, a socially led Instagram campaign or a purpose-led program,” Kantar Millward Brown report says.


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And while marketers are hostage to the product innovation cycle, the impact of a new creative approach may come faster.

#6 Learn fast to achieve better returns

A brand can have a great product or idea and in-market execution can still fail to disrupt.

“Marketers need to behave as if they are in perpetual beta, which means fast feedback is essential so they can quickly identify opportunities to course correct,” adds Kantar Millward Brown report.

#7 Continuously improve your marketing effectiveness

Today’s success is an opportunity to improve current marketing effectiveness while looking for the next disruptive growth opportunity.

But to do so marketers must measure what is happening to the brand and the consumer response in-market, notes Kantar Millward Brown report.


Sunil Kumar Singh
By Sunil Kumar Singh
Sunil is a digital-savvy journalist and a leader in managing and integrating print & digital content in UAE, the Gulf and India. Sunil is an innovative editor with over 14 years' experience in digital content marketing, leading team and ability to deliver quality content for both print and new media.