Go Ahead. Disrupt My Day.

 

If you’re like most Americans, you noticed something different about the election.  His name was Donald Trump.

He said whatever he wanted. He did whatever he wanted. He disrupted our day because his message was innovative, as was his delivery.

The definition of disruptive innovation, according to Wikipedia, is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology.

Does that mean Trump will become the “new” kind of politician that Americans will continue to elect? Will he replace the established, experienced, “stately”, politically correct model of politician that we have come to expect?

No matter what your political opinions, or what happens in the next four years, American politics have now changed. An outsider has triumphed, in part due to his disruptive approach to which created his ability to stand out from his opponents. For better or for worse, Donald Trump captured the world’s attention from the moment he began his campaign. He was aiming to disrupt the status quo of politics, and his succeeded.

As marketers, disrupting your audience’s day can work to your benefit too.

chik-fil-a

When I see the billboards and advertisements for Chick-Fil-A, starring a cow who wants you to eat more chicken, I can’t help but chuckle. Like most innovations, there is risk involved and the decision makers had to climb on board with an unorthodox idea. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall as the Richards Agency pitched those cows to Chick-Fil-A. They were planning to sell chicken with no chicken involved. The campaign idea, now more than a decade old, was something so out of the ordinary that you can’t help but talk about it. The cow mascots helped propel the company to the #1 spot in the nation for chicken sales, even surpassing KFC. Now that’s disruptive!

ad-just-got-better-340I’m sure the next four years will be filled with more disrupted days, just as they have been now that Donald Trump is nearing inauguration. I think disruption begets disruption. For example, the quintessential example of disruptive technology is the iPod. The iPod changed the way we bought, listened and interacted with music on a global scale. Ever since that first product introduction, CEO Steve Jobs, marketing genius that he was,  was smart enough to keep the excitement going. To this day, whenever the new iPhone comes out, the world seems to stop and watch. Every new piece of technology is marketed as a life-changing event, something that will redefine our society. While it might be simply a product upgrade, the original expectation and reputation that Apple has built for disruptive technology continues to play repeatedly, like a familiar song everyone wants to hear. If you’re lucky enough to endear yourself to your audience with something disruptive, you will create an expectation for more of the same!

Good disruptive marketing also makes you look, but GREAT disruptive marketing brings you into a different world.  For example, here in the Chicago area, two local hospitals, Edward and Elmhurst, recently went through a merger and successive rebranding. I recently attended a seminar where the in-house creative team explained the branding process and how they set out to be disruptive. Instead of following the rule book on hospital branding using the usual colors and language, their goal was to find a new brand, different from every other hospital–something exciting that no one had ever done before.

Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare's "Healthy Driven" initiative features professional race car driver Danica Patrick. Through the campaign, Patrick is encouraging healthy behaviors through Edward-Elmhurst's Danica Patrick Healthy Driven Challenge at HealthyDriven.com. Patrick is a native of Roscoe, Illinois. (PRNewsFoto/Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare)

Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare’s “Healthy Driven” initiative features professional race car driver Danica Patrick. Through the campaign, Patrick is encouraging healthy behaviors through Edward-Elmhurst’s Danica Patrick Healthy Driven Challenge at HealthyDriven.com. Patrick is a native of Roscoe, Illinois. (PRNewsFoto/Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare)

The result of their search was the “Healthy Driven” campaign, with racecar driver Danica Patrick involved as a spokesperson. They set out to be “provocative, yet welcoming”. Instead of subdued, soothing colors they embraced red-hot, bold orange, yellow, and black hues. Messages were edgy, empowering people and encouraging them to take responsibility for their health. But the idea of “healthy driven” was more than an ad campaign. It penetrated every program at the hospital. In fact, the marketing director said they knew the brand had really touched their audience when a disgruntled patient, calling about his bills, told the operator on the other end of the line they did not have a very “healthy driven” attitude!

This November we learned a valuable lesson about disruption and how powerful it can be whether it is viewed positively or negatively. Trying something disruptive in your marketing campaigns can be successful for many companies, and it can be successful for you too. Don’t be afraid to do something unusual, bold, and unorthodox to reach your audience. The ground you break may pave the way for a disruptive innovation for your brand.

If you are interested in exploring disruptive marketing techniques for your brand, I’d love to brainstorm with you! Contact me at 630.778.6182.