The Death of Disruption -- Guest Post by Cameron Connors, Condé NastRevolution, by Claude Flight

Flite's Guest Blogger series features the industry's top thought-leaders to share insights on display advertising, agile marketing, and innovation.

Cameron Connors is the Executive Director of The Studio at Condé Nast.

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Can everyone please stop using the term disruption?

Its connotation evokes uncertainty, disorganization, and fear. What we are actually experiencing is a revolution.

“Disruption” fails because it doesn’t accurately reflect the progress that is being made today and for the foreseeable future. Yes, in a relatively short period of time there has been a noticeable change in power and organizational structures across numerous industries, including media. Isn’t that the very essence of a revolution?

Traditional business models that held together for decades are now adapting to a completely new reality. Today’s model requires everyone to constantly push the envelope. To mark this as an era of disruption would be a gaffe of epic proportions. Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder of Twitter and Square, was recently quoted at September’s TechCrunch Disrupt as saying, “Revolution has value, revolution has purpose — a direction and leaders. We don’t want ‘disruption,’ where we just move things around. We want a direction. We want a purpose.”

Clearly, I understand where this all began. The music industry was disrupted just a decade ago by the peer-to-peer file-sharing network Napster. The ensuing revolution began with the advent of the iPod. At that time, the industry was powerless and could not respond quickly enough to prevent what was happening. Apple stepped in with a technological advancement that gave people a way of seeing a path forward.

How can companies benefit from the revolution we are experiencing?

Technology is ushering in a new era of thinking –– one of relentless re-invention. Companies that can really understand and adopt this new way of thinking are breaking new ground. A company has to imagine its brand new ways by factoring in technology platforms. With the pace that things are now moving, some companies only have a small window of time to envision and act. Otherwise, they will become an afterthought, while their competitors pass them by.

 

Seizing the Moment

The chance for brand marketers to literally re-program how their narratives are communicated to the modern-day connected consumer is upon us. There are a number of brands that have creatively capitalized on this moment. A few notable ones include:

 

Nike

A legendary brand with a legacy of iconic marketing moves, Nike recently launched a new product that has very little to do with their core apparel offering. The Fuel Band was released this past spring. It tracks your activity through a sport-tested accelerometer within a bracelet on your wrist. It tracks activities like running, walking, dancing, basketball, and translates every move into NikeFuel. It is a simple, effective, technology-driven innovation that carries with it a very powerful and empowering brand message –– one that transcends apparel: “Put it on and get moving.” The brand behind “Just Do It” just did it again.

 

Burberry

This iconic fashion & retail house has been a digital darling for a few years now, and for good reason. Their content-driven approach to digital brand and product marketing has been recognized as revolutionary both in the fashion category and beyond. Under Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey’s leadership, the brand has been transformed and provides a rich content offering across all channels with digital as a core delivery mechanism.

 

Delta

The air travel industry has been littered with challenges for quite some time. The early onslaught of booking websites like Priceline, Orbitz and more recently Kayak have compromised ticketing revenues. Additionally, bankruptcies and mergers have permeated the industry. Through it all, Delta has stayed the course. Now, Delta is focusing its efforts on re-imagining and enhancing every digital consumer touch-point they own. Their in-Flight Wi-Fi service offering goes international in 2013. Delta appears poised to “Keep Climbing” through digital innovation.

 

Brand Everywhere

Adopting a technology-driven ideology and synthesizing a narrative across platforms has become pivotal in defining a brand’s current and future state. Take Condé Nast’s “Brand Everywhere” approach for example.  The publishing leader laid a foundation by partnering with Adobe to design a workflow and a suite of creative tools enabling seamless development and distribution of branded content across print, web and mobile.

As Condé Nast’s audiences flourish across these platforms, it remains important to offer brand partners opportunities to connect with customers in meaningful ways. This is where strategic investments with technology partners like Flite, Gigya and Unified come into play. Selecting the right mix of products and services to best understand audience behavior is a critical step forward in Condé Nast’s “Brand Everywhere” strategy.

 

The Revolution Shall Be Televised

Clearly, digital technology is a catalyst that is revolutionizing, not just disrupting, the media space. With the proliferation of connected technologies and the availability of real-time consumer data, it becomes clear that today’s revolution is indeed being televised across numerous channels. The perplexing question is whether or not this revolution will ever truly end.