Adapting for success in an age of disruption

Disruption is set to displace four of the top ten organisations across every industry. But how does disruption occur?

How are challenger brands harnessing it to their advantage? And is it possible to spot a disruptor before they start wreaking havoc in your industry?

While the word disruption may be fast approaching cliché, the sentiment behind it is very real. As is the challenge of responding to young brands who can do new, exciting things with alarming speed and seemingly little effort.

So, if four out of the top ten companies in their field are set to be displaced, what are the other six doing to maintain their position?

We believe, that like up and coming challenger brands, they will be putting the customer at the heart of everything they do. This goes beyond merely understanding your customers, it is about looking for practical ways to become agile and adaptable enough to quickly respond to developing technology and customer demands.

Ever-evolving expectations

To focus purely on ‘the new kids on the block’ is to underestimate the pervasiveness of disruption. While it is undeniable that the culture, silos and processes of many traditional businesses are making it easy for more agile competitors to steal market share, it is not that simple.

digital disruption has become a self-fulfilling prophecy

Customer expectations are evolving as rapidly as technology is. Today’s empowered consumers crave intuitive, seamless and speedy services and they expect them in all areas of their lives.

As such, digital disruption has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, enriching customers’ lives whilst raising the stakes for businesses, which fuels the demand for further disruptors.

Doing things differently

We conducted a study of some of the most well-known and established digital disruptors such as Airbnb and Netflix.

The patterns we identified show some fascinating trends. These can be broken down into three main areas:

  • Disruptors remove friction
  • Disruptors respond to negativity and adversity by the well-timed offering of something new
  • Disruptors save their customers time

Essentially, reducing time by removing friction leads to an increase in value.

Greater simplicity, greater value

For those brands that truly understand what their customers want and make getting it simple, the reward is great. Removing friction isn’t easy, but it is certainly worth it.

be mindful of replacing one source of friction with another

After all, products can be copied, prices undercut, but a well-crafted experience is much harder to emulate.

However, one word of warning – be mindful of replacing one source of friction with another. By removing complexity from your customer journey, giving your customers the ultimate in simplicity, you may now have a new problem.

When your success means customers need to spend less time with you, how do you engage with them and continue to stand out from the competition?

The solution could lie in either creating heightened experiences founded on a simpler and refined data set, or in broadening your influence – before someone else does. 

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