If You're Not Disrupting, You're Standing Still

If you’re not disrupting your category, then you’re standing still in a moving market.

This applies to brands, music, movies, art, fashion, cuisine… when others zig, you should zag. You should always be pushing the boundaries and carving a new path. Otherwise, someone else will. Over time (or sooner than you think), that makes you obsolete, irrelevant, a commodity, mediocre… I can keep going.

So here’s the lens through which you should be viewing your brand, and the world: Ask yourself, ‘Are we disrupting our category, or are we the status quo?’

Think about what:

👉 Liquid Death has done with water
👉 Tesla has done with automotive
👉 W by Jake Paul has done for hygiene products
👉 Feastables has done with chocolate

So if you’re a new brand, or thinking about starting a new brand, that would be the first question I would ask – ‘How can we be disruptive?’

If we can’t, then why bother at all?

What about the Substitute Effect?

The substitute effect is to create a brand identity, name, packaging… so similar to a market leader so that you create confusion. The idea here is to trick consumers into buying your brand when they think they are buying another more well-known brand.

Doesn’t this work?

Sure, if that’s the kind of business you want to run. If you’re a grifter who likes tricking customers for the sake of making money, if you have no self-respect… then go for it. That’s just not the kind of person I want to be, not the type of business I want to run, and I don’t want to make a dollar of that kind of money.

Branding is Link Gravity

Branding is like gravity: consumers gravitate toward brands they know and trust.

The bigger the brand, the stronger the pull. When comparing brands within a category, the brand with the strongest pull is the one that is most likely to attract the most buyers.

Think about the next time you’re shopping, or selecting a movie. You naturally gravitate toward the brands you recognize and trust. In the case of movies, you may be drawn to ones with actors or directors that you know and trust.

This is because we as consumers have anxiety when we’re shopping, whether we are conscious of it or not. We want to know we are making the right decision. So going with a reputable brand is all about minimizing risk and anxiety while maximizing comfort and satisfaction.

Continue reading: Branding is like Gravity

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