Brand Insights

Market disruption rules to win customers


A market disruptor is a company or organisation that challenges the existing market by offering a new and innovative solution to a problem or need. This article looks at what market disruptors have in common, and gives some rule to follow for existing, traditional companies looking to become more innovative in their approach to the marketplace.


How to embrace innovation through adapting your business model and creating a team of digitally savvy creative innovators. Breaking down the 5 key rules to becoming a market disruptor.

The rise of the market disruptor has come thick and fast over the past decade, and there are countless examples in most sectors that have become day-to-day household names. Uber has disrupted the taxi industry with its platform technology, despite not owning any taxis. Air BnB have done the same in the hotel industry, enabling users to book a place to stay without owning any hotels. In finance, there are now numerous app-based banking solutions, with Monzo and Starling taking a significant share of the market.

The marketplace is changing, rapidly. And it has no choice – consumer value and expectation change quicker than ever. The need for businesses to pivot to keep up with this is no longer optional. Companies that want to retain their customer base need to be able to keep up with customer need, while also fulfilling their value proposition.

The business model

Where does this leave businesses with a traditional business model? Well, for the most part, struggling to keep up with the competition. For many it’s a case of transform and innovate, embracing a more digital approach to their products or services, or become obsolete. Challenging the status quo will mean looking at their internal processes and offerings, undertaking considerable market research, and implementing incremental innovation in order to embrace new technologies and move forward.

Established companies often have the benefit of already having the capital and existing resources available to innovate and move into new and niche markets.

What are market disruptors?

What does it mean to be a disruptor in the marketplace? It’s more than just about beating the competition or doing something better. Being a disruptor is about creating something that turns the market on its head, that changes the conversation, and puts you at the front of that conversation.

It’s about acknowledging that what worked once is no longer necessarily the right answer – what helped get your organisation to the top isn’t what will keep you there. Your competitors are pushing for new heights of innovation and agility every day. To move past them, you need to be able to look at the market from a fresh perspective, and set the agenda for others to chase after – not just once, but with every shift of the marketplace, and with every new consumer problem that needs to be solved.

Being an industry disruptor means changing the way an industry operates by embracing innovation, and introducing new ideas, digital technologies, or business models that are significantly different from what is currently in place. The rules for being a successful industry disruptor are not set in stone, but there are a few key principles to keep in mind.

Rules to be a disruptor

Follow these 5 simple rules if you’re looking to start your journey to being a market disruptor:

  1. Find the pain
    Identify a need or problem that is not being adequately addressed by existing companies in the industry. This could be a new product or service that meets a previously unmet need, or it could be a better way of doing things that is more efficient, cost-effective, or convenient.
  2. Use innovation to solve the problem
    Develop a unique solution that addresses this need or problem in a way that is significantly different from what is currently available. This could involve creating a new product or service, developing a new technology, or coming up with a new business model. It might be using emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence or the internet of things, to create new products or services that solve existing problems in innovative ways. It could also involve using technology to improve upon existing products or services, such as by making them more user-friendly or cost-effective.
  3. Don’t forget marketing
    Communicate the value of your solution to potential customers, investors, and other stakeholders. This could involve creating marketing materials, engaging with the media, or networking with industry insiders. Creating an innovative new product or service won’t be of much use to you or your customers if you don’t know how to tell them about it. Find your audience, build a funnel, and create useful content that brings people to your solution.
  4. Create an innovation mindset
    Build a team of people who share your vision and are committed to making your solution a success. This could involve hiring employees, partnering with other companies, or working with freelancers and other independent contractors. Make collaboration and agile leadership the norm. Empower your people to be creative, innovative and to make decisions that champion the customer value proposition.
  5. Don’t rest on your laurels
    Be prepared to adapt and evolve as the market changes. The key to being a successful industry disruptor is to be constantly on the lookout for new opportunities and challenges, and to be willing to pivot and change course as needed. Disruptors constantly seek ways to stay ahead of the game. They’re intellectually curious and place a high value on experimentation.

Establish the right team

Much of this depends on having the right team in place to help the innovation process. People who have the capability to sense new market shifts, people who can look past established industry structure, and bring a disruptive mindset. The team need to have digital skills that enable them to identify and use the right tech to create competitive advantage. As we move into a digital age, closing the knowledge gap is getting more challenging, but it is crucial for those that want to undergo digital transformation and become disruptive, innovative companies.

This may require new talent, borrowed talent, or upskilling, but if we can learn one thing from Elon Musk, it is that a lone individual is not enough - good ideas and disruptive innovations come from collaboration. Rapid advances come from talented people being empowered to experiment and make mistakes.

As you build a team, look for skills such as technical expertise, or strong technical skills and knowledge, business acumen and understanding of objectives, strategic thinking, creativity and ability think outside the box, and strong collaboration and communication skills in order to ensure that all parties are working towards a common goal.