Part I: Finding disruption in all the right places.

At a recent discovery meeting there was a lengthy discussion about our manufacturing client’s audience. The audience was assembly line managers, and the assumption was that productivity, time and quality were what these stakeholders valued. All of which I am sure are true… and conveniently these values seem to match the benefits of our clients’ product.

But these attitudes were related ONLY to the workday itself. What about the other two-thirds of their lives? What are they passionate about? What did they have in common that would make them stand out from others in management?

A fresher view of your customers’ lives

So we began to look outside of the steady beat of the workday. They were young, mostly male, loved video games, motorcycles (a specific type) AND career advancement. Much more interesting! And the resulting campaign was unexpected, authentic and effective.

This experience was typical of what I found going through a few of our most successful clients. For our highest performing brands, it wasn’t about the amount of disruption, but about WHERE the disruptive opportunities seemed to surface.

Discovery. Not strategy. Not creative. Discovery.

Rewriting category priorities

At another discovery meeting a secondary stakeholder said — almost in passing — “Really the only thing that differentiates anyone in this market is customer service, and we suck at that.” He got a laugh from the room, the meeting went on, but that statement went on to become the disruptor we needed. The project changed, from one about messaging to one about company transformation led by a newly-found dedication to customer service. 

Face-to-face conversations

Many brands enter vital brand building projects assuming the magic will come from value propositions, sales offerings or at the strategy and creative phases. Disruption, the kind that transforms a business, often comes from things we cannot anticipate. From people we do not know. From social and cultural hot spots that we haven’t yet discovered.

Effective discovery identifies these threads and offers brands an open door to differentiation, purpose, big ideas, growth and legacy staying power.

We do a lot of branding research at Shinebox. Like everyone else we look at the statistics, the generational trends, demographics and engagements numbers. But all of that is only context. Powerful insights come from simply asking the right person, at the right moment, the right question. That means tracking our audience down wherever they are; LinkedIn, Facebook, or even face-to-face. 

Patience and persistence

When people trust you, they open up. They tell you what they genuinely care about, what keeps them up at night, and what they aspire to become. Sometimes they care about your brand or category – sometimes they don’t. Either way, you have what you need. Understanding the shared values between your brand and your audience is how disruption becomes business growth.

For Shinebox, Discovery has grown from a single meeting to — at times — seemingly endless interviews, audience studies, and focus groups. The impact of honest discovery in developing an effective Brand Platform can’t be over-emphasized. And the disruption that comes out of discovery has become about more than messaging alone, but about business opportunities it generates for our clients.

At Shinebox, Discovery takes longer than it does at many agencies. But we have a great reason – we’re still looking for your opportunity!

Explore more

This is part one of a four part series on building brands and the Shinebox Disruption methodology. We will explore how audiences and their values become a catalyst for disruption. And how disruption can build brands that build business winners.