Although it may not be the right route for every company, disruptive innovation is inarguably fascinating to explore.
Headline-grabbing companies like Uber and Airbnb are rapidly changing the face of the world we live in, whilst regulating bodies struggle to keep up. These innovators remind us how far creativity can take us in a world where technology is accessible and ubiquitous; it’s an exciting time to be in business.
The headlines, however, have left people feeling largely ambivalent about the role of disruptive innovation in our lives. The prospect of being up-ended by a tiny startup is worrying for industry giants, and the rapid pace of change can leave some feeling insecure about their futures in industry.
But, though it might be painful, disruption is a natural part of progress and we’re here to celebrate it.
That’s why, we’re taking a closer look at some of our favourite innovative startup companies. This rag-tag bunch of dreamers and hustlers have come from nowhere to transform their industries and make consumers think twice about their purchasing decisions.
Let’s take a look!
If you’ve ever seen a swaggering millennial waving a bright pink debit card at the London Underground ticket turnstiles and thought ‘that’s an interesting colour’ then you’ve succumbed to Monzo’s incredible brand marketing strategy.
Consumers have felt underserved by the banking industry for decades. Confusing rules, strange fees and charges, and endlessly frustrating customer service systems employed by leading banks left a gap in the market that was ripe for disruption. Monzo is only three years old but its super-simple, app-based banking system and total disregard for traditional banking approaches have already inspired more than 1,000,000 users to jump on board.
Key takeaway – know your target market
They’re a shining example of how a deep understanding of what your customer does and does not want can inspire totally new market approaches. Make sure you spend a great deal of time getting to know your target market.
Enterprise-level email marketing solutions can be expensive, unwieldy things. This is especially problematic given that most users don’t ever touch on the vast majority of their capabilities. They waste time and money getting functions they’ll never use effectively. Mailchimp understood this problem intimately and decided it was time for change.
As a lightweight, in-browser email marketing solution, Mailchimp made so many people’s working lives that much easier. They took the long waits and complicated systems out of CRM for those who simply wanted to ‘send an email real quick’. The company is still 100% founder-owned and continues to roll out useful, down-to-earth products that are easy to use.
Key takeaway – quality over quantity
Mailchimp are a perfect example of the power of stripping your product back. Look carefully at your product or service and think about where the value for your consumers really is.
Bulb is in the running for the 2018 Winds of Change Award for their remarkable innovation in the energy provider space. Using independent, sustainable energy generators, they deliver 100% renewable energy solutions to customers in an industry dominated by dubious practices and questionable ethical standards. They recently became the UK’s most trusted energy supplier as rated on Trustpilot – great news for the planet, bad news for outdated fossil fuel suppliers.
Key takeaway – strong vision is key
We love Bulb’s forward-thinking approach and ethics. Remember that your organisation has a wider part to play in our society at large. Make sure you have a strong vision for how you want to help create a brighter future.
The wit and honesty delivered by the marketing folks over at BrewDog have won over the hearts of hundreds of thousands of beer drinkers just when the industry was starting to taste particularly stale. Perhaps even more refreshing than the beer is their fiercely ethical stance on contemporary issues. Just recently, BrewDog cancelled a partnership with a U.S. firm after they discovered the company was giving out free beers to Donald Trump supporters. This apparent honesty is disruptive in itself, and the brand has built a loyal fan base in an industry people had lost faith in.
Key takeaway – prioritise customer experience
By learning about Brewdog, we discovered how integrity itself can be innovative and disruptive. Beer drinkers have been yearning for a ‘real’ experience for decades and the company took advantage of that need. Sometimes market opportunities are more about customer experiences than simple products.
It takes a lot of guts to release a disruptive product and attempt to take on industry giants. Totally redefining one of the world’s oldest products from the bottom up, however, is next-level audacity.
Beyond Meat is working to change the very definition of our foods with its 100% plant-based meat products, hoping to reverse some of the devastation caused by the existing meat industry. There are a lot of powerful people out there who don’t like the idea of a cheaper, healthier, more sustainable and more ethical form of meat. However, demand for Beyond’s products is skyrocketing and they’ve tripled their output this year alone. And with that, they’re pushing the boundaries of what it means to be an innovative company in 2018.
Key takeaway – don’t be afraid to rethink your industry
Technology today is evolving at break-neck speed, and we all need to keep on top of these changes to survive. Question whether what you’re doing right now is truly in the interest of consumers and whether there might be a better way.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little about these fantastic innovators. And if you’d like to learn more about innovation, read our bog post: ‘Different Types Of Innovation: Why One Size Doesn’t Fit All’.