The totally RAD™ guide to disruptive innovation

No longer is it acceptable for a brand to evolve through tiny increments of change. Brands must innovate in order to survive.

The need to dig deeper, through strategy and insight tools (such as our RAD™ process) has never been more evident and partnering with the right strategic agency never more important. The right brand / agency relationship will drive innovation, causing disruption and relevancy in the market. Without these partnerships a brand’s marketing team are generally too close to the brand, scared of pace and more often than not inclined to play it safe.

Nokia has recently launched a new ‘disruptive’ global marketing strategy to fight its declining market share.

Tuula Rytilä, Chief Marketing Officer at Nokia, said: “In many ways, we’ve changed the way we market Nokia and our products. At the core of Nokia brands are attributes such as quality, innovation and relevancy.”

She added “As we are now a challenger in the mobile market, we want to be bolder in order to make our point clearer. And importantly, what we do, needs to resonate with the consumer.”

It’s not just declining global technology brands that need to adopt the disruptive challenger stance. Smaller brands with the right tools can and will challenge their field and go on to dominate. A good example is Stoats – a plucky young company with a pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit. Partnering with Robot Food seemed obvious to both parties and together we have produced something truly unique and engaging. The people behind Stoats had the confidence to disrupt their category and steal valuable market share from their FMCG counterparts.

In the last two months Stoats has gained national listings with three of the major supermarkets and there is much more to come!

So how does a brand become a credible ‘Challenger’ and disrupt the equilibrium?

There has been a lot of study on the characteristics of disruptive brand innovation and we believe that recognising these points can turn any brand into game changers. Below are the results of a relevant study by BlackPearl Intelligence:


Modern consumers can sniff out fakes with relative ease. Be transparent and true to who you are as a brand. Don’t copycat or try to play yourself off as something you’re not. Tom’s vs. Bob’s Shoes is a good case in point here.


As traits go, it’s innovation, more often than not that really blow people’s minds. People tend to think of big innovations such as MP3 players, smart phones, and the like. But innovations in other unassuming categories like household products can be just as impactful.

Status Appeal

This is an easy one. You can’t be a disruptive brand if you don’t give your customer the halo effect à la mode merely by being associated with your product or service. Think of your favourite brands and how you feel when you engage with them. And don’t be embarrassed…we all do it.


With the “everything to everyone” culture that exists in the marketplace, simplicity sometimes appears to be the most difficult characteristic for a brand to accomplish. A brand or a concept must be able to be summed up with a few simple words to have true impact.


Nothing is more important than a brand or product that delivers on its promise. Well, there is one thing that ranks higher than that – accountability. Doing what is necessary to fix a brand or product when it does not deliver. Apple is famous for this characteristic.

Emotional Connection

Emotional connection allows for your brand to have a deep and meaningful affect on your customer. Get them to feel something and more than likely you have them hooked. Humour is an effective and pervasive way to connect to your target in a memorable way.


You don’t want your brand to be a flash in the pan. You’ve got to keep up with needs and trends if you want to remain relevant. Evolving, trying something new and making marketplace noise are solid approaches to be in the branding game long term.