Disrupter or Disappointing?
The tech industry is always one for a buzzword, whether it’s Blockchain, IoT or VR, there is always a movement in the industry. One that you have probably come across a fair few times is ‘disrupter’. As the name suggests, there are companies making waves in stagnant industries. But how many actually live up to the reputation?
A truly disruptive product or technology will knock an everyday product that has become commonplace for many, right out of the park. Taking a trip down memory lane, you might remember how the DVD stole the spotlight from VHS or how now in 2020…. Apple Watches outsold the entire Swiss watch market. But how many of these more recent, self-proclaimed disrupters caused a seismic disruption to their industries?
So what really is disruption?
As part of the disruption innovation theory, Harvard Business Review cited disruption as “the process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses. Entrants that prove disruptive begin by successfully targeting those overlooked segments, gaining a foothold by delivering more suitable functionality. Entrants then move upmarket, delivering the performance that incumbents’ mainstream customers require while preserving the advantages that drove their early success. When mainstream customers start adopting the entrants’ offerings in volume, disruption has occurred.”
First of all, let’s examine those that have truly disrupted the direction of their sectors and for some the world. →→
Each of these companies brought something really innovative and unique to offer the market, and after entering the market, it has never looked the same again. Whilst these could each be described as a disrupter, not two of these companies followed the same trajectory.
Never an Overnight Success
Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, disruption does not happen overnight. Even though it seems like some of these companies appeared out of nowhere, a lot of legwork went on in the background to make these companies a success. For example, it was around 10 years before Spotify become the lead player in the industry and from then on was a seriously fast trajectory. Another example would be the internet searching platform that has now become an adjective due to it’s global success, but it was actually 9 years from its set-up that it become a widely known brand.
And these are still considered to be some of the fastest-growing companies in recent times.
Disruption and success are not always intertwined. Success is not built into the definition of disruption: Not every disruptive path leads to a triumph, and not every triumphant newcomer follows a disruptive path.
All Talk, No Action
Too frequently the phrase ‘disruptor’ is used loosely to invoke the concept of innovation in support of whatever it is they wish to do. Taking less thought to the needs of the consumers and where there is a gap and demand in the market.
Companies typically deliver a solution to a problem, but quite often the problem they are trying to tackle isn’t that much of a pain point for their audience to make them embrace the new idea. A recent example would be Quibi, a new streaming platform that was set to disrupt the sector but resulted in its closure just a mere 6 months after launching. Quibi was offering bite-size content for people on the go but entering a highly saturated up against giants like Netflix they were just not offering something people truly wanted or needed and with less people commuting there was fewer need for ‘on-the-go’ tailored content.
The overuse of the phrase ‘disruptor’ by companies that can’t live up to the expectation, is leaving a sense of innovation fatigue.
Disruption is more than having just a great idea or technology It’s about creating something consumers can’t live without.
And can a company truly refer to itself as a disruptor before they have disrupted?
There have been many companies or technologies that have reshaped their industries, anyone claiming to be a disruptor really needs to be bringing something new to the table that will make an impactful change. Here at Halston, we are constantly working with innovative companies that are driving to disrupt, if you need help building a strong brand that cuts through the noise, get in touch.