Disruption - an investors favorite word

“Disruption,” a word that your competition will be fearful of, but one that your potential investors will love. With the recent successes of disruptive companies such as Uber, Airbnb, and SpaceX, the word has become extremely trendy within startups, as entrepreneurs are beginning to recognize the value placed behind the simple adjective.

Where it took off

Disruptive companies, products, or services are nothing new. Inventions such as the first drivable car, or the modern refrigerator can be seen as disruptive. But the word disruptive still never caught on among entrepreneurs until the early 90s when the World Wide Web was first launched. Slowly but surely, the internet caused disruption all over the planet, from helping fuel massive social or political uprisings to providing the backbone for large E-commerce websites. The internet of things has drastically changed how we live and function both as a society and as individuals. Without it, the disruption we are currently seeing within almost every major industry would not be happening.

Now It’s Everywhere

In major industries such as healthcare and technology, you expect quite a bit of disruption from newer companies looking to gain traction, simply because of the recent advancements of modern technology. But it doesn’t stop there. Retail, hospitality services, the media industry, and even professional sports, are all experiencing impactful surges of disruption. For example, in just the past five years, the way that fans are consuming live sporting events has drastically changed. Professional leagues and companies are starting to invest more resources in mobile streaming, as well as virtual reality, and the entire fan experience will see a dramatic shift both at home and in the stadium within the coming years. Some leagues such as the NFL are experiencing such a decline in viewership that major adaptations or changes will be needed sooner rather than later, or else the league will simply die out.

Not Everyone’s a Fan

As previously mentioned, disruption is a word that your competition won’t take lightly, and in many cases, a heavy amount of backlash will surround your company because of it. I don’t want to say something such as ‘there is no such thing as bad PR’, because that’s one the biggest myths surrounding public relations, but there is some truth behind the statement. For example, in early 2014 when cab drivers across Europe were protesting Uber the company saw a 850% increase of signups in just one week. If your product or service upsets a decent percentage of the population it is not something to be concerned with, as the negative attention will only increase your consumer awareness. When the cab protests began, many citizens within Europe were still unaware of Uber, but thanks to the negative attention they were able to fully understand the consumer benefits of the service, which helped pave the way for the wild success the company is currently experiencing. Simply put - if you believe that you have a competitive advantage over the competition than their negative reactions or feedback won’t plague your company, and in most cases will only help it rise to stardom.

Opportunity Ahead

As previously mentioned, disruption is a word that your competition won’t take lightly, and in many cases, a heavy amount of backlash will surround your company because of it. I don’t want to say something such as “there is no such thing as bad PR,” because that’s one the biggest myths surrounding public relations, but there is some truth behind the statement. For example, in early 2014 when cab drivers across Europe were protesting Uber, the company saw a 850% increase of signups in just one week. If your product or service upsets a decent percentage of the population it is not something to be concerned with, as the negative attention will only increase your consumer awareness. When the cab protests began, many citizens within Europe were still unaware of Uber, but thanks to the negative attention, they were able to fully understand the consumer benefits of the service. Thishelped pave the way for the wild success the company is currently experiencing. Simply put - if you believe that you have a competitive advantage over the competition, then their negative reactions or feedback won’t hurt your company, and, in most cases, will only help it rise to stardom.

Disruption will only increase, not slow down

10 years ago, everyone wanted the Motorola Razr Flip Phone, as it was heavily praised for its sleek design and modern functionality. But now we all want smart computers that act as a phone, and if it flips? Forget about it! As a society we are rapidly advancing the technology behind the everyday tools we are using, and don't expect it to slow down anytime soon. What was once science fiction is slowly becoming our own reality!

Rolling out a new product? Follow these 10 steps to ensure a successful launch

1) Understand your market

Hopefully you did plenty of research before designing your product, but now that it’s finished, it’s time to go back and take a deeper look at your potential audiences. Focus groups, experiments, surveys, and expert interviews can all act as a resourceful marketing tool to help you better understand your customers

2) Test it, and test it again

Owners make this mistake far too often. They get excited about a new product, and jump to mass production before thoroughly testing their invention. Having to recall your product will be detrimental to the success of your company.

3) Create the story, aligning with your brand identity

What’s the purpose behind the product? Why was your company the one to invent it? How does it fit in to your overall brand? If you can’t answer these questions, PR professionals and potential customers will be weary of promoting your product. Sloppiness, or a lack of brand identity surrounding your product will result in uninspired customers.

4) Offer early incentives, acting as a ‘soft launch’

Why launch your product to the masses when you can do a soft launch filled with people of your own network who can offer objective feedback? You can then use that feedback to perfect your product before mass production

5) Bootstrapping > Pouring thousands of dollars into large marketing campaigns

I get it. You have a great product, and you want to create the most amazing marketing campaign to go along with it. But it’s 2018, the internet is a tool in itself, and there are plenty of free marketing tools to help you successfully market your product. You can use Canva to create free, professional looking marketing tools. Google Analytics provides a wealth of information regarding your website & social traffic, and Facebook pixel advertising has been proven to reap huge results, with owners pouring 0 dollars into the social platform.

6) Know your competition as well as you know yourself

What is your direct competitors plans for the near future? Do they have anything similar to your product? Is there a chance they can copy your idea and make it into their own? Is there a way that you could potentially work together, or join forces on this one project? People often look at competition as the enemy, but why? Competition, especially in the business world, can be a great resource for your business. Notice what they're doing well. Track their customer feedback, and take a mental note of what people wish they improved on. 

7) Pricing is key

Turning a profit is important, and if you have investors, that's going to be the figure that everyone is most concerned with. However, a cultural shift is happening within our capitalist society. That shift is a consumer base that is becoming more aware of where their dollars are going. If you're price gauging, your customers will notice, and any trust that they once had will be diminished. 

8) Make it about more than just the product

You need to show to your customers that the main reason you created your product isn't to make money, but rather to make their lives easier by providing a solution to a problem that they continually endure. Showcase how with your product, life is either more enjoyable, less stressful, or simply easier to navigate through.

9) Get partners involved

If you don't have partners, then get your network involved. One of the best ways to promote a product, is to have someone else do it for you. If a trusted company promotes your product it will add value to it because consumers will associate a positive feeling with it before it even reaches their hands. You can only tell your story so many times, it's important to seek other avenues to get your message across to potential consumers. 

10) Be patient

If your product doesn't go viral right away, don't worry. Success doesn't come overnight, and in many cases, it may take a few months to see the traction you envisioned from day one.