“Disruption is a process, not an event, and innovations can only be disruptive relative to something else.” — Clayton M. Christensen
by Adwright, 14 June, 2019
In the 20th century, brand disruption can be found commonly in production—think of Henry Ford’s motor vehicle assembly line revolution, which enabled mass production. Another example was Ray Kroc’s successful franchise innovation in the 1960s, which brought the concept of ‘fast food franchise’ around the world.
Today, brand disruption is known as a strategy where brands take on an unconventional positioning approach. Brand disruption is the ability to provide unique solutions to an issue. Disruptions can also take form in the differentiation of a brand’s positioning. When a brand positioning is unique and new, it can establish a new market, boosting the brand’s awareness as a pioneer.
Disruptive brand positioning in Singapore
The positioning of ride-hailing brands in Singapore has been mostly about its function. Most of the ride-hailing brands emphasise on its quality of interfaces and user experience, often enticing users with discount promotions. As such, consumers use the brand that offers more savings or those that provide lower prices.
One of the brands that stand out is Grab. As one of the earliest ride-hailing brands that introduced brand loyalty incentives, Grab has made it enticing to book rides from their app. Booking a trip with Grab is further incentivised with membership rankings that turn into rewards. Membership rewards ranging from ride discounts to GrabFood promotions are usually personalised and sent in an email to each member. Grab used to gain a strong foothold in Singapore as it positions itself as a service company that offers more than ride-hailing services. Grab has since grown and now provides transportation, food-delivery and goods-delivery services, it also functions as a digital wallet. That is brand disruption found within a brand’s diversification strategy.
Brand disruption is also evident in Go-Jek’s brand positioning campaign. Go-Jek is a ride-hailing brand first established in Indonesia. Its only objective in Singapore is to provide well-priced ride-hailing services. With a focused business strategy that contrasts other brands that diversified their services, Go-Jek offers lower prices. Besides business functionalities, Go-Jek’s brand communication has been disruptive as opposed to conventional promotion-based messaging.
Go-jek’s branding campaigns are cheeky and self-referential of its presence in a congested market. It’s “Hey Goliath, there is a new Dave in town” OOH advertisement message and the tongue-in-cheek ‘promo’ ads in MRT stations and shopping district are distinct and memorable. In an industry where convenience and cost-efficiency are essential, Go-Jek differentiated itself by positioning themselves as a youthful and vibrant ride-hailing service provider.
The factors behind a successful disruptive brand
Brand disruption is not about being different for the sake of standing out. Successful brand disruption requires strategic planning and the understanding of the consumer’s needs; and how a brand can position themselves to satisfy that need.
Impactful brand disruption always starts with discovering an untapped opportunity that a brand can leverage on. Finding an untapped opportunity comes from understanding the demographics and psychographics of the target audience. A brand that analyses and learns about its target audience can discover issues or unmet satisfactions. This information is used to identify solutions or make improvements to consumers’ way of life.
Brands also have to maintain consistency of what they are set out to accomplish. For instance, Grab’s operations feature ride-hailing and food delivery – these services have to always reflect on its core benefits—convenience and time-efficiency. A brand can only influence consumers by providing consistent standards of product and service.
Ultimately, a brand that seeks disruption should understand its position in society and the issues they aim to resolve. Identifying these aspects will set a brand as a disruptive innovator that can create change. At Adwright, we aim to discover your brand’s potential. By understanding your target audience, we can shape your brand’s positioning and image. With the experience and knowledge in developing local and international brands, we are skilled in helping brands discover their identity.