Disruptors and unicorns and tech, oh my!

This summer, the PRCA staged a panel discussion, its aim was to extract the commonalities that seem to make brands positively disruptive in PR and Communications today. And who better to hear from than three brands with incendiary status in their own industries. Let’s call them ‘industry disruptors’: Airbnb, Pronto App, and VC firm MassChallenge (who are one of Pronto’s funders.)

But what exactly are the benefits of being an industry disruptor?

The right businesses disrupt to improve, and sometimes if you don’t approach with the view to disrupt, you cease to exist…or at the very least get lost in the industry noise. A recent example of where Octopus Group adopted the disruptive mindset in a tactical way was a physical stand stunt to visually illustrate its new research finding on the CMO: the biggest cause of sleeplessness in CMOs is the threat from the competition – 92% of sleepless CMOs say competition’s increased pressure to hit targets. However, for disruptive ideas to resonate, they need to be for the benefit of your target audience.

The PRCA panel discussion circled around three key catalysts that seem to propel businesses – regardless of industry –  to establish themselves and grow as disruptors.

The essential brand piece

@Natashalytton There’s always a rush to bring your product to market, sometimes at the risk of your brand or story #PRCArep #startup

Learning: Get the essence of your brand in writing, essentially your mission statement, and make sure this is felt and understood throughout the business.

The non-passive mindset

@MassChallengeUK “I became a fact corrector. Don’t do that to be disruptive. Be pro-active, educate, tell the story.” #PRCArep

Learning: Identifying your industry niche and leading the discussion by saying something that other brands (namely your competitors) aren’t.

The continuous evolution

@paddyrobinson Airbnb: How do we stay relevant? We do stuff on the back-end so your own experience is different to your nan’s #PRCArep

Learning: Something you’re likely sick of hearing, but I’m going to say it anyway. Any evolutions or campaigns you put out in to the world have to be customer-centric. Use the data you already collect to your advantage to build up an accurate 360 view of your buyers. And one especially good piece of advice I saw recently: ‘a day spent with your head buried in data is nothing compared to spending an hour talking to your customers.’

Conclusively we can say that both B2B and C brands stand to gain a competitive advantage by adopting a disruptive mindset. Whether your objective for the next quarter is to help invigorate partnerships, pull in funding or create news, don’t wait for it to happen. It’s not simply a concept just for start-ups or entrepreneurial unicorns, but brands looking with something meaningful to say, looking for the right platform to execute it on.