The challenger brands who embrace creativity to get ahead

The business world as we knew it has completely changed. This is mostly thanks to new technology, which has allowed a new generation of challenger businesses to disrupt the status quo and connect with consumers in different ways. But once a new business makes that connection, how can it ensure it's a meaningful one?

There isn’t a market from banking to retail that hasn’t had its share of disruption from these so called 'millennial generation' disruptors. Food delivery services like Deliveroo and Just Eat are tapping into the food on the go trend while taxi services like Uber are making travel even easier. Amazon has transformed the way we shop. Netflix is changing how we view TV and Tesla is making us rethink the car.

What is perhaps most remarkable about these disruptors, apart from the sheer genius of their business idea, is that they typically eschew conventional marketing and adopt a more direct and creative way to engage with consumers. This has allowed them to build consumer perception that they are "shaking things up".

Being disruptive is a huge driver of brand value growth. Take Amazon for example, the archetypical disruptive brand, which has grown its brand value by 3370 per cent in the last 12 years, according to the BrandZ database.

But brands that want to grow fast need to do more than just disrupt, they also need to be creative; because being disruptive and creative supercharges brand value growth.

Read: Henry Moore on why humans need art to live

In fact, we can break down the role that consumer perception of creativity, disruption and great advertising plays in building brand value over time by analysing BrandZ’s 3.6 million consumer interviews comparing perceptions of 122,000 brands in 51 markets over the last 12 years. The results show that each element of the equation has an impressive impact but that together they do so much more to build the brand.

For example, brands that consumers perceive as creative but not disruptive have grown their brand value by an average of 69 per cent over that period; while brands that consumers perceive as disruptive - seen to be ‘shaking things up’ - but not creative have grown even more, boosting brand value by 83 per cent over the same period.

But when you combine the two, the rewards get even higher. Brands that consumers perceive to have both creativity and disruption at the heart of their businesses have performed even better, generating an average brand value growth of 154 per cent; combine that with great advertising and you get an average brand value boost of 265 per cent.

The data demonstrates that brands with disruptive creativity at the heart of their business can use it to fuel advantageous consumer perceptions.

Some challengers use social change as an important way to demonstrate their difference, an important part of being disruptive, whether it’s Amazon’s charity donations or Brewdog’s Lager for Girls.

Read: How is the relationship between art and business changing?

Taking a stand is helping these businesses stand out from established rivals and define themselves very clearly to a customer base that is ready for something different or highly relevant to their needs. This helps them punch above their weight, often with far less marketing budget than established and traditional players.

An essential part of this consumer connection is often social-media driven, even inviting customers to be a part of the business with crowdfunded investments, as was the case for challenger bank Monzo. 

Our research reveals the power of such market disruption and creativity, but it’s only powerful if the target audience actually perceives the company to be disruptive or creative.

Netflix, one of the fastest risers in this year’s BrandZ Global Top 100 (up 73 per cent to $20.8bn), is benefiting from its disruption of traditional TV by providing internet entertainment worldwide. It uses its priceless consumer data to personalise its service to more than 125 million subscribers and as a result delivers great content, convenience and an exceptional brand experience.

Making this kind of brand value growth a reality, requires these companies to go beyond product and R&D and also rethink the way they approach communications. That means experimenting with new formats and, most importantly, delivering a great brand experience.

Disruptive creativity is something that has to evolve and be applied every day across the entire company and needs to be experienced by the consumer across all touchpoints.

Brands that set out to change the world, or at least some small aspect of it, have an advantage because not only do they have a clear point of difference but a focused purpose also helps brands make authentic decisions.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Please see for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

Our Companies

Quick Links