Brand Leaders, Here’s Why You Should Dare to Disrupt

BY: ANTONIO BUCHANAN  |  DEC 3, 2021 – 5 MIN READ

Corporate Social Responsibility
Key Takeaways (5-minute read):
  • Many brand leaders are afraid to rock the boat for fear of judgment, losing customers, and more.
  • If you’re not moving forward, you’re already falling behind.
  • Disruptive brand strategies should still be for the good of the consumer.

Think back to the day you firmly decided to set out to change your brand, begin a significant capital campaign, or take the next step to grow your company into a household name. What did you feel like? What did you want to accomplish? Sure, making money is an important goal, but what else? It’s likely you wanted to change something about the industry you’re in or create something you always wished for that didn’t exist in the market yet. These are the types of goals that set our hearts on fire at Antonio & Paris. Our passion is to help brands not only succeed but disrupt their respective industries by building a strong connection to the people they serve. Whether a CEO or CMO comes to us with an idea they need help executing or they feel they have lost their way with their branding, we aim to reignite that passion they had from the beginning and to find ways to share it with their consumers.

Most often, disrupting the norm is the way to do this, but it can be difficult to diverge from a set path and forge a new one. Why is that? Usually, it comes down to a simple human emotion: fear.

So, let’s take a look at some of the most common fears among business leaders who want to disrupt the status quo but aren’t sure how:

Market saturation: Maybe you’re worried there is already a sea of sameness within the market. We get that. There are a ton of branding studios out there, but that didn’t stop us from creating the one that would be uniquely A&P. Your brand promise and mission are never going to be just like any other because they’re coming from you. If it’s something you love and are passionate about, it’s going to attract like-minded consumers. The same goes for an idea, product, or service you want to introduce from your brand. It’s not your job to monopolize the market; it’s your job to provide something great that people will love or fill a need that they will appreciate. With a boatload of enthusiasm and a great brand landscape—brandscape, if you will—it’s all possible.

Fear of judgment: This one is at the root of so many issues people face today. Worrying about what others might think isn’t wrong; it’s just human. But we’re imploring you to push that fear aside and embrace the things that you’re most excited about with your business. This is where you are going to excel—people will see you, cheer you on, and, not to sound cliché here, but if you build it, they will come.

People have certainly criticized the hell out of Impossible Foods, whose plant-based meat alternative products launched in 2011 and have only grown more and more popular in the past decade. “Why would people want to eat something that tastes like meat if they don’t eat meat?” is just one common judgment of the brand and its consumers. But guess what? Impossible saw a need to be filled and an environment to conserve, and they went for it. “The company first introduced its meat-free burger in restaurants more than five years ago,” writes CNBC, who placed Impossible Foods on its 2020 and 2021 Disruptor 50 lists. “Now, more than 30,000 restaurant locations—including Starbucks and Burger King—carry its meat alternatives, up from 20,000 a year ago, even as the coronavirus pandemic devastated eateries. And a year and a half after bringing its plant-based meats to grocery stores, more than 17,000 retailers carry the products.”

Fear of losing consumers or brand equity: Maybe you have a successful brand but you’re ready for a change. It’s normal—evolution is part of life and it should be part of business, too. If you’re not moving forward, you’re stagnant, and that’s never good. But change is also scary, and it makes sense that brands would be hesitant to make big moves for fear of losing customers. But here’s the thing: just like that ex who couldn’t handle it when you changed your life for the better, moved on, and are living happier than ever, you’re probably better off without them. If you’re transparent and honest with your consumers and you’re genuinely changing your strategy to make something that is better, with your audience always in mind, they’ll stick around.

Forbes contributors offered these seven helpful tips for rebranding with the consumer in mind, and we wholeheartedly agree:

  1. Strengthen your company voice.
  2. Consider how your brand looks and feels to consumers.
  3. Start with an internal brand strategy and move outward.
  4. Enhance UI and UX wherever possible.
  5. Be transparent with your consumers.
  6. Go big or go home: make it a complete transformation.
  7. Publicize your efforts through PR, social media, and more.

Unsure how to start: Maybe you’re ready to shake things up but you’re not sure where to begin with your brand’s new disruption strategy. We recommend taking a cue from #2 on the list above; listen to your customers. Check out our blog post here for some more rebranding strategies that can help build consumer loyalty.

Get help from the experts: A&P’s proprietary strategies for consumer research, digital diaries, Playground focus groups, brand strategy sessions, and Disruption Days are all about finding ways to ignite the love affair between brands and consumers.

Our Disruption Days and off-site strategy sessions are specifically designed to get C-suite executives and other brand leaders out of their comfort zones to create real change. Considering problems and strategies from new angles is our goal. Sometimes this means a one- to three-day creative brand disruption workshop, and other times it might mean literally getting out of the box by taking an off-site leadership retreat where a new environment and camaraderie can foster new ideas and energy. We invite you to consider our Brand Strategy tools and reach out to A&P so we can discuss which ones will make the biggest impact on your brand.

Our team of creatives and futurists at A&P would love to conduct a brand analysis and strategy session to see how you can reach your goals. You just have to dare to disrupt.

About A&P

A&P, a brand agency, excels in finding innovative ways for clients to provide exceptional experiences to their customers. Their work includes consumer insight, brand innovation, creative development, mobile and technology solutions for global brands such as AT&T, Mini USA, DIRECTV, Newell Rubbermaid, Tenet Healthcare, and Barco Escape. For more information about A&P, visit them on Facebook, Twitter or antonioandparis.com.

WRITTEN BY
Antonio Buchanan

Short Bio — In 1999 after leading the charge on worldwide accounts, such as American Express, IBM, & Microsoft, at traditional global agencies in large agency networks, Antonio Patric Buchanan set out on his own to create a new agency model with his agency, bang!zoom. Within a couple of years, the agency was purchased by the Canadian holding company, MDC. In 2004, he launched what is now the global brand innovation and design firm Antonio & Paris.  He counsels the likes of AT&T, MINI USA, Barco, Paramount Pictures, The Franklin Institute, ThermoFisher and other global brands.  Additionally, he is on the Executive Board of Fast Company and First Serve, A United States Tennis Association Non-Profit.

WRITTEN BY
Antonio Buchanan

Short Bio — In 1999 after leading the charge on worldwide accounts, such as American Express, IBM, & Microsoft, at traditional global agencies in large agency networks, Antonio Patric Buchanan set out on his own to create a new agency model with his agency, bang!zoom. Within a couple of years, the agency was purchased by the Canadian holding company, MDC. In 2004, he launched what is now the global brand innovation and design firm Antonio & Paris.  He counsels the likes of AT&T, MINI USA, Barco, Paramount Pictures, The Franklin Institute, ThermoFisher and other global brands.  Additionally, he is on the Executive Board of Fast Company and First Serve, A United States Tennis Association Non-Profit.

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