Sometimes in the business world, people overuse particular words. I would put disruptive in that category. It sounds startling, super-advanced, and mind-boggling. In fact, disruptive sounds infinitely better than the three words I just used to describe it. I guess that is why people really love to use it.
There are only two companies that come to mind that succeed with disruptive offerings: Apple and Google. (I am sure you can name a few others.) Yes, disruptive offerings work for a slim few. But there are a number of other successful companies that are not necessarily delivering disruptive innovations but are realizing strong results anyway. Companies like Virgin America, Zappos, and Nordstrom.
What is it about these companies that make them successful with their target audiences? The answer is an outstanding user experience. I would argue that a great user experience trumps all other facets.
If we look at consumer behavior these days, we see a handful of interesting characteristics that drive brand preference.
1) The truth comes out. The reality is that consumers have such a strong and powerful voice. Brands cannot create a fictitious position. If they do so, if they misrepresent what they are about, the public will call foul. And the consumers’ word spreads.
2) People genuinely respond well to brands that show they care. If a brand delivers customer service or engagement that goes beyond expectation, the consumer starts to build an emotional bond to that brand. Repeated brand action of over exceeding expectation leads to strong loyalty.
3) Brand sharing continues to grow. This is true with regards to positive and negative aspects of user experiences. Now, it is more important to activate your audience to share positive experiences about your brand than to do other social marketing activities such as posting. (Yes posting is still important, but there should be greater emphasis on audience activation and communicating about your brand than the brand actually doing the communication.)
When I studied for my Master’s degree in marketing a number of years ago, academic marketing experts placed heavy importance on product/service differentiation to win a target audience. I am not sure that is the number one characteristic to win an audience these days. I would argue that if your product/service has parity with your competition, but you deliver a superior customer/user experience, you would win market share.
People have numerous decisions with regards to the brands they favor. Just look at any shelf in any store. Do a search on the Internet for a brand category. There has never been such an abundance of choices. So much competition. The best way to win an audience over is to genuinely demonstrate that you care about their business. Bend over backwards to make sure they know you are equally concerned about delivering excellence for them as driving revenue and profit.
I have made my argument that a user experience is more important than a disruptive offering. Your turn. Chime in. What are your thoughts and perspective?
Make It Happen,