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Disrupt or die. Why PR professionals should always keep innovation in mind?

Disrupt or die. Why PR professionals should always keep innovation in mind?

By Carole Bersillon, Intern

I was confused for a moment when I read this article from Forbes, “30 under 30: Today’s disrupters and tomorrow’s brightest stars”, that presents success and personal value as reinventing the world by making a difference and overall being the one who matters. Will I someday be someone that matters? Or at least, is our future professional success linked to our capacity of being different? Looking up the definition for disruption, here are the following descriptions found in the dictionary:

  1. To throw into confusion or disorder
  2. To break or burst
  3. To interrupt or impede the progress, movement, or procedure of

The most interesting definition that I found was, “disruptive innovation is Clayton Christensen’s theory of industry disruption by new technologies or products.”

Two simple examples were given:

  1. Wikipedia is an innovation that disrupted the market of encyclopedias, even if the content is not always very reliable.
  2. Apple iPod totally disrupted (and killed) the Sony walkman.

Immediately I thought about TBWA, the worldwide top advertising agency founded by Tragos, Bonnange, Wiesendanger and Ajroldi in 1970 , and the way they describe their philosophy: Disruption Consultancy, Creativity + Bravery. TBWA advocates disruption as a starting point for any brand because “ it not only drives the strategic development challenging and overturning the conventions, it creates a common language and understanding among our network for the brands we lead.” Disruptive brands are said to be changing the world and defining it in their favor. Forbes ranked the world’s most innovative companies (on 5-year average sales and income growth and enterprise value). Among the top 100 are Apple, Google, Monsanto, Pemod Ricard, Nintendo and L’Oreal.

Innovation is essential in PR, communications and marketing because it helps stand out and make our messages come across the multitude of daily information and solicitations.  This is either through original pitch messages, stories or basically not always using the same idea twice.

So, what’s an innovator’s DNA according to Forbes?

– Questioning and observing to consider new possibilities

– Networking to gain different perspectives

– Experimenting new ideas

It is through original associations that creative ideas will pop up. Still dreadfully searching for my own disruptive big idea, I recommend this example of a disruptive campaign by TBWA. It is a campaign for VISA New Zealand that transformed the baggage carousel of an airport into a lava flow. But where in the world did they get that idea?

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