Attendees at last month’s Adobe Symposium, in Sydney, were treated to insights from some of the world’s most eminent experience makers. Among them was brand reinvention consultant Cindy Gallop, who has 30 years of experience in branding, marketing, and entrepreneurialism.
For Gallop, whose mother is Malaysian Chinese and who grew up in Brunei, the Asia-Pacific region holds a special place in her heart. “I grew up in Asia and for years I’ve been talking about the fact that I feel an enormous sense of pride in our region,” she told CMO.com. “I want the rest of the world to understand what they can learn from Asia and that we should bring what’s happening in Asia back to us.”
Gallop’s wide-ranging business experience and future-forward approach to technology have fuelled her passion for disruption. She sat down with CMO.com to share her five tips on how to make it work for your business.
Know What You Believe In
Understanding your values at both a personal and brand level is key to successful disruption, Gallop said. “Whatever you set out to do, have a very clear sense of what you stand for and what you believe in. The reason that's so important is because whatever you do to disrupt will be welcomed by any audience that shares those values,” she said.
For brands, the importance of customer loyalty and advocacy cannot be understated when it comes to building and maintaining market share. Research shows that consumers are paying closer attention to what brands stand for; in fact, 86% of Millennials said they believe organisations should be measured in terms beyond financial performance, according to the “2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends” report.
“When you connect with your audiences, whoever those are--your consumers, your employees--on the basis of those shared values, that forms a visceral bond that means you can then take them to places you want to go, and they will absolutely follow you,” Gallop said.
Disrupt Through A Diverse Lens
The Asia Pacific region is home to a vast array of diverse people and cultures whose perspectives create an environment that is ripe for effective disruption.
“When you have a team that is gender equal and that also embraces anybody who is other--whether that be diversity of race, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, age--they bring truly innovative perspectives that will ensure that you have the team that can disrupt most effectively,” said Gallop.
Blue Sky It
It was American computer scientist Alan Kay who said, “In order to predict the future, you have to invent it.” It’s a quote that resonates heavily with Gallop, who encourages business leaders to adopt a blue-sky approach to disruption.
“Do not disrupt in the context of what is possible now,” she said. “Too many people think the future happens without us, rolls us over in its wake. I’m all about deciding what you want the future to be and making it happen.”
How far forward should we look? “To infinity and beyond,” Gallop said. “However magical that experience, that thing, that disruption--make it happen today.”
Don’t Be Afraid To Completely Reinvent Your Business Model
For business leaders who prefer to err on the side of caution, Gallop’s fourth tip might seem jarring: “You have to completely reinvent your business model,” she said. “You can be as disruptive in the way you make money as anything else.’”
Gallop acknowledged her advice makes some leaders uncomfortable, but said too many leaders think their industry business models are set in stone, and that discomfort is, in fact, a good thing.
“Out of discomfort comes greatness. As a leader, everyone should be saying to themselves, “If I am not feeling uncomfortable about what we’re doing as a company, as a business, then there’s something wrong with the way I’m leading because that means I’m not pioneering. I’m not ensuring that we really are breaking new boundaries, really disrupting things.”
Be Creative About The Way You Do Business
Leaders cannot do new world-order business from an old world-order place, so modernising your business practices, in a creative way, is crucial for effective disruption, Gallop said.
“Everything's changed, but the systems and processes still haven’t,” she explained. “If you don’t change those, it doesn’t matter what disruption you plug in at one end. You get the same, old crap out the other.”
Business leaders should not underestimate the role creativity plays in changing business practices, she added.
“You have to be creative also about literally deciding to redesign the landscape of the marketplace you’re going into, redesigning the playing field to ensure maximum receptivity for what you’re doing,” Gallop said. “I believe you cannot be disruptive without being creative.”