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  • Writer's pictureTrey Crowder

Lessons Learned: Disrupting an Industry

Engage or enrage? Advertising campaigns try to spark conversation, oftentimes by relating to relevant social issues, trends, or zeitgeists. Ironically, a common trait campaigns share is the desire to stand out. One way to achieve this is with a disruptive campaign.

 

Disruptive campaigns tactfully position a brand or product from the rest of its industry by going against the status quo. There are some risks involved; Apple’s “Crush!” iPad commercial and Bumble’s celibacy ads showed how disruptive campaigns can take a wrong turn. But don’t worry—when done strategically, disruptive campaigns position your brand as the solution, not the problem.

 

We’ve helped brands in different industries go against the grain, picking up essential lessons along the way. Let’s dive into them.

 

#1 Find Your Brand’s Difference

 

While you may be an expert on your brand, disruptive campaigns require a bird’s eye view of your consumer and industry to recognize how your approach brings innovation to the category and addresses a problem that matters to your audience.

 

TTC accomplished this for a small medicine brand by highlighting its use of only essential ingredients, starkly contrasting it with big brands that use unnecessary and potentially harmful additives.

 

Through an anthropological lens, we utilize our Collective Intelligence Process to analyze your brand, consumer, and cultural landscape to pinpoint the intersection where your brand’s qualities can impact your audience the most. From there, we take creative routes to find the best avenue of messaging—for the small medicine brand, it was a disruptive campaign that highlighted their draws while pointing out competitors’ flaws.


Man looking at medicine bottle

#2 Be Bold

 

When you decide to create a disruptive campaign, all members of the brand, marketing team, and stakeholders must be on board. Quiet disruption is a paradox. All team members need to know the campaign’s tone is going to be like a splash of cold water—bold, in your face, chest out and chin up. Watering down, backtracking, or rewording will lead to inconsistencies and audience confusion.

 

A successful disruptive campaign will attract some side-eyes. Make sure your team is on board to weather the potential storm that comes with trying something that’s never been done before.

 

#3 Prepare for the Naysayers

 

So, you’ve prepared your team—the rest of the world is next. With cutting-edge campaigns undoubtedly come haters, critics, and questions. This is a good thing! The best disruptive campaigns shed light on a problem only your brand is addressing.

 

Some of the most iconic campaigns were criticized at first, but the world warmed up to them, and they made an impact. Like Dove’s 2004 “Real Beauty” campaign that highlighted the perfect imperfection of bodies. It initially received critique, but twenty years later, it is still a relevant and championed campaign. Liquid Death’s commercials, events, and zombie livestreams have turned the water industry on its head, with people questioning its purpose and positioning. But it’s also brought a creative resurgence to an idle industry and, more importantly, helped Liquid Death sell water.


Despite the skeptics, these campaigns have made a lasting impact because their brands delivered a clear, direct message. Staying true to your positioning and being confident in your choices makes your stance that much more appealing.


 

Disruptive campaigns draw attention, which is essential to effective advertising. The success of your campaign depends on knowing your brand, its industry, and its consumers. After finding your angle, commit to it—no matter what the critics say. If you do it right, the reward will be worth the risk.

 

Interested in disrupting the status quo? Reach out to us at info@thethomascollective.com

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