Is disruptive really the new steady? 03 November 2016

We inhabit a business world where disruptive seems to be the new normal. Challenger brands are snapping at everyone’s heels. Brands like Uber appear on the scene and grow quickly. By not being tied to out dated legacy technology, and having access to rapid investment they can build a highly successful business in a few months. Traditional taxi companies can’t move fast enough to catch up and suddenly there is a whole new way to get a taxi.

Whilst Uber might seem to be the epitome of a new disruptive business tearing up the rule books – they actually follow a traditional brand approach that guarantees you being noticed: being famous for one thing.

Strip away Uber’s apps and the magic of seeing your car edging closer on a map and you realise that they just focus on a single concept: making getting something easier. 



Being remembered for one thing is a great strategy when the market place is crowded. Car brands have survived on this strategy for decades. By selling competing and largely identical products car manufacturers have been forced to own a distinctive part of the market – Audi with its focus on technology, Volvo with its commitment to safety and Porsche selling performance excellence – are all examples of them all pushing one major differentiator and maintaining clear space between their brands.

Uber’s simple and broad concept of ease and convenience makes it easy for them to extend this idea into other arenas. Uber Eats now makes ordering local takeaway and getting it delivered easier too. Just where Uber will go next is any ones guess but it will certainly be an extension of its overall brand focus on making something you want easier to get.

So the good news is that to compete in this new world you don’t have to be an agile challenger brand but you do need to really know and communicate what makes you special.

We think that every business in any sector needs to think hard about what it does really well and clearly and consistently express it. Businesses need to be able to answer these questions:

- Does your brand capture and express that one thing that you do better than anyone else?
- Do your staff understand it and can they express it?
- Do all your marketing touch points reinforce it?
- Are your customers ambassadors for it?

Expressing the one thing that makes your famous is key to standing out and competing. We believe that if you can’t think of the one thing that you do better than anyone else, then the chances are no one else can either.

Creating difference

At Living we help businesses to drive performance with strategic thinking, brand creation and cut-through messaging, we fuse these key elements together to create highly effective results.

If you would like to find out more, please contact Greg Hobden in London, Aliena Lai in Hong Kong, or Kate Shaw in New York.


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