Few words in business are loaded with more exhilarating promise and alarm than “disruption.” Accelerated change is the one constant variable. The way we drive, what we eat, how we work, where we shop, how we communicate – every behavior and business model is in transformation mode.
How do brands respond to disruption? How do they embrace it, turn it to their advantage – what’s the strategy for handling the velocity of change? The opportunities are unprecedented, the false steps amplified. How do you stay essential in an endless hackathon?
Salt works with both disruptors and the disrupted to provide answers to these questions and identify how to leverage them for their business and brand. The scenarios range from an automotive giant evolving their outlook on innovation to a multinational food company re-defining internal transformation to two companies creating their own shock waves.
For Mercedes, Nestlé, Regus and Zenni, the key was having a clear disruption strategy, developing new tools and discovering ways to brand these ideas and solutions. These are challenging conversations but smart enterprises know it’s the key to remaining an industry leader.
Mercedes is an iconic brand that needs no introduction. However, in this new world of ride sharing and driverless cars, transportation is headed in many unpredictable directions. The German company came to Salt with a brand assignment for their California-based business innovation group. The larger issue was a strategic one: How would Mercedes reconcile their long-standing, core values while still having the freedom to move forward with radical new ideas? In 1886, Karl Benz applied for a patent for what was later recognized as the world’s first automobile. Salt brought the past and the future together, anchoring the new name in a historical context. Lab1886 honors the company’s history of innovation while creating a modern R&D space dedicated to the future of transport.
Nestlé, and their Silicon Valley Innovation Outpost, had an entirely different equation to solve. As a global enterprise, Nestlé has a number of innovation groups scattered around the world, all with competing skillsets and mandates. The question was how best to position SVIO within the company so that every business unit understood what SVIO did, how they worked and where this innovative thinking could best impact Nestlé’s products and technologies. Over the course of several workshops, Salt and the SVIO team re-defined their foundational story. Inspired by a valley synonymous with transformation, SVIO is a place for digital innovation makers. They prototype, test and prepare ideas for full-scale implementation. Now, SVIO has a clearer methodology for bringing disruption in-house.
Regus, a lead player in co-working rental spaces, watched as new, aggressive companies like WeWork ignored convention and invented a new model for creative and collaborative work environments. Cubicle by cubicle, they were losing market share. In response, Regus flipped their name backwards and invented their own workspace concept called Suger. Salt turned this project into a new brand identity and experience that captured the explosive thinking and bold attitude inside these new meeting spaces.
Price is the ultimate disruptive force. It’s how Zenni altered the optics for the eyewear industry. With value-priced lenses and frames starting as low as $6.99, the company changed the way people thought about buying prescription eyewear online. Zenni came to Salt for an in-depth look at their proposition. This dictated the move from a functional economic pitch to a more emotional connection with their audience. This lead to a complete overhaul of their visual and verbal identity and a richer, more engaging user experience. Zenni took disruption and dialed it up even higher.
Four different companies working with the strategic implications of disruption. Thinking though these dramatic shifts is one reason why their brands continue to build strength and discover new opportunity. Disruption is happening to brands large and small. The good news is, you’re in charge of the ride quality - rocky or smooth.