Is Your Brand Disruptive?

August 24, 2017

Being disruptive is quite the buzz phrase these days. The premise for disruptive branding is that people are so overwhelmed with, well, everything, that they don’t actually notice anything unless you are able to disrupt them from their sea of the same experiences.

Big brands and entrepreneurs alike should always be seeking the best ways to cut through the clutter. By virtue of the definition, disruptive is intrusive, distracting, and can sometimes upset the proverbial apple cart. Is that good for your brand? Maybe, but only if you do it right.

Ask yourself, if by being a bit louder or a bit more provocative, what new audiences could you potentially reach? Would it allow you to promote your product or service for a new use or in a new context? What new niche markets or persona groups could you generate? In my opinion, the best place to be disruptive is in a place that is not expected.

I preach to my clients that they need to do what others in their field/industry won’t do. I am firm and exacting when explaining that if they desire to stand out from their competition, they need to be doing something that their competition is not. Nine out of ten times the difference is not in the offerings but in the journey a customer has with a brand. You need to represent more than a product. Say things your competition hasn’t. Be places they aren’t. Much of it is about the emotional connection a buyer has with your brand.

Disruptive marketing just simply works that way. If you want to be jarring, you need to be emotionally charged. Figure out what about your brand makes people cry, scream, or laugh. Then own it (good or bad). Be authentic and if done appropriately, it will be disruptive to your audiences in a positive way. Everyone likes a company that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Use humor, real stories, and memorable experiences to create an emotional response.

Industry disrupters (for the most part) gain market share quickly and turn their competitors into imitators. When that little voice in your head pipes up and says, “You can’t do that!!” take a quick moment to ask yourself, “why not?” Is there a way for your brand to be disruptive in your industry that you haven’t thought about or maybe you have but didn’t think you could? What can you do radically different that would shock and delight your demographic?

Finding your brand’s disruptive sweet spot is like finding buried treasure, it takes a lot of effort and more than just a spot of luck but it’s worth every ounce of sweat equity.

Apple is the best example that comes to mind of a brand that has rocked the concept of disruption. It has broken all existing norms and conventions and created consumer advocates that are walking (literally with product in hand in most cases) brand ambassadors.

As many of you know part of my own agency’s positioning and differentiation actually utilizes the word disruption right on its website. It showcases why Re-Tool Marketing is not like other boutique agencies and why we are certainly unique and unlike the others vying for work in our space.


Our process is different. Our services are different. We have one objective in mind: separating you from the masses and positioning you as a thought leader in your space. A couple of things you should know:

We’re efficient. We get things done. We don’t just “talk” about it, we DO it and usually quite a bit faster than those bigger guys because our nimble size allows us to make and implement decisions quickly. We know a thing or two about a warp-speed pivot.

We’re “all-in”. When you hire us, you will be our primary focus. We plug in using an “all-in” mindset focused on you and becoming an extension of your business.

We don’t do vanilla. If you want more of the same, we’re not your team. We like to stretch what’s possible and really dig deep into what will resonate with your audience.

There is no cookie cutter process with us. We offer a plug and play business model to assist you where you need it. If you need a boost (and want to be a wee bit disruptive about your branding) we might be just the right fit for you.

To additionally emphasize the value of being disruptive with your brand and gain another perspective on its importance, I want to share with you a recent interview from my Brand Crush Brand Chat series.



I was over the moon (and then some) to speak with the Yoda and Godfather of Branding, Marty Neumeier, Director of Transformation at Liquid Agency and prolific author of numerous books on the subject of brand. He offers his invaluable insight into the world of radical differentiation and discusses at length why being “disruptive” is far from being “different”. He also shares the brilliance of what he has coined an “only-ness statement” and uses interesting brand examples you’ve never heard before. Check it out here!

So don’t be afraid to dive in and make a splash with your brand. Challenging the status quo and being a bit disruptive is a vital driver of successful brands in today’s world. Think shaken not stirred.