#PRDisruption: What is Disruption?

Disruption Ahead

My friends and I have a joke that the home goods store Bed, Bath, & Beyond is “dangerous” because “every time you go in that place, you find something you didn’t know you needed.”

When you go into a store and you encounter some product or gadget that you “didn’t know you needed,” you usually see it and a lightbulb goes off. For example, the first time I saw a mold for cooking a perfectly circular fried egg in a pan, I thought, oh my goodness! I could make a perfect bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich!

When this happens to you, congratulations – your life has just been disrupted! You’ve discovered a solution for a problem you might not have been aware of—or a problem for which you had never realized a true solution existed, at least not within the market of existing solutions you were familiar with. The official definition of what is called “disruptive innovation” in the field of business administration is an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market-leading firms, products, and alliances.

What’s a value network? A value network is a system that organizations, departments, operating units, or people use to do work, buy or sell products, or create plans that benefit the entire organization. In other words, a disruptive service or product has the potential to change or significantly alter the entire market or the entire distribution scheme that has, until that point, existed around previous iterations of the service or product.

If you’re attempting to sell a disruptive service or product, that’s great news for your potential consumers. But before you can get it into their hands, you are almost guaranteed to run into a lot of resistance.

Any kind of change can be tough, and markets, especially large and well-established ones, don’t particularly like to be disrupted. Just think about the taxi and hotel industries’ reactions in the face of Uber and Airbnb. Not pretty! Before your disruptive innovation can get off the ground, you’ll likely to have to spend a lot to convince the public—to convince institutions and consumers—that it’s a worthwhile endeavor to make this change in the market.

That’s where PR comes in. JoTo PR Disruptors comes to public relations from a crisis management standpoint, which is perfect for disruptive innovators because they already have their work cut out for them before they can begin gaining market share ground. PR is the secret sauce whose purpose is to control people’s feelings about your business or product, which will almost 100% control how willing they are to buy from you. Want marketing ROI? Want sales traction? Invest in PR first. Make sure your creativity gets its reward.

  1. “Disruptive innovation.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation. 4 May 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_innovation
  2. “Value Network.” Investing Answers, investinganswers.com. 4 May 2018. http://www.investinganswers.com/financial-dictionary/businesses-corporations/value-network-6370

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