How to Disrupt the Market

Being disruptive used to be considered something negative. Back in the day, you might be called out by the teacher for being loud and noisy in class, disrupting your fellow classmates. Or you might’ve have seen that one annoying person who wouldn’t shut up during the movie at the cinema. Little did we know back then that disruption would go from being something everybody loathes to something celebrated and encouraged in today’s market.

Industry disruption, in fact, is the goal of most emerging startups and entrepreneurs. They actively seek to shake up the system, break the mold and disrupt traditional industries. They look to offer customers something they’re not currently getting or fulfill a need that’s not being met. Every entrepreneur wants to be a legendary “disrupter” like eBay or Airbnb.

But disrupting an industry doesn’t have to be about reinventing the wheel. You don’t have to figure out a way to offer a product or service that’s fundamentally different So, don’t waste precious time brainstorming about launching something completely inventive. Instead, analyze how you can do what’s already being done – disruptively and with distinction.


1. Get to Know the Industry & Your Competition

Yes, it’s very textbook, but knowing the industry inside and out is the only way you’ll know who you’re up against. What’s currently being offered? What do customers think about existing companies? Who are the key players on the scene? Find out who’s on top and look for ways to improve their offering or fill in gaps in the market.

To put it simply, research is the key to disruption. If you want to solve a real problem, you’ll make it your business to know everything there is to know about your industry – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

2. Figure Out the Problems

Once you’ve conducted thorough market research and have a feel for the most popular competitors in your industry, it’s time to see what needs to be fixed. That means figuring out what the problems are. Whatever problem you are trying to solve, look at it from all angles and determine why nobody else has solved it yet.

What attempts have been made to fix the problem? Are there industry regulations? What are the roadblocks? You might try making a list of any and all problems and constantly refer to your notes to make sure you’re not missing anything.

 

3. Find a Solution

Once you’re through researching and identifying the key causes of the problems, you should have a pretty good idea of what some possible solutions might be – which usually involves a better, cheaper, more convenient version of what’s already available on the market.

This doesn’t directly translate to you offering cheaper products and services, but perhaps offering the same in terms of quality but at a more affordable/flexible budget and a more convenient way for your customers to obtain said products and services. This is just one example of course; with many more possible solutions you should be able to come up with if you’ve done the first two steps properly.

 

4. Offer Brilliant Customer Service

Today’s marketplace is demanding, with Millennials getting used to having authentic and tailor-made services. One of the main areas in which disrupters can break the mold is their customer experience No matter what your product is, innovating a better customer service experience is one of the best ways you can disrupt your industry.

In order to revolutionize your customer journey, try approaching your business as one of your customers would. Go through your own sales process as a non-biased party and see what you like / dislike about it. When you start thinking like one of your customers, you start generating better service solutions.

As you carry on and disrupt your industry, make sure that you’re creating a product or service that doesn’t just fill a need, but delights your customers and gets them coming back for more. Research the market, find the problems and offer a superior solution that changes the game for everyone.


 

Color Theory For Designer (Part 2)

As a professional designer, you probably don’t need to be convinced that color has a profound impact on your designs and the people that view them. But if you find yourself wishing that you better understood the nuances of color and how to harness its vast potential, you’re not alone.

In part 1, we briefly touched on the subject about the different types of color families as well as when to (roughly) use them. So now we’re going to try to go a bit more in depth on the concepts and terminologies of colors such as hue, shade, tone, etc.

“Color is a power which directly influences the soul.” – Wassily Kandinsky


HUE

We’ll start off with the most simplest term, hue. Hue is the most basic of color terms and denotes an object’s color. When we say “blue,” “green,” or “red,” we’re talking about hue. The hues you use in your designs convey important messages to the people who view your designs.


CHROMA

The next item on our list is none other than chroma. Chroma refers to the purity of a color. A hue with high chroma has no black, white, or grey added to it. Alternatively, adding white, black, or grey reduces its chroma. It’s similar to saturation but not exactly the same. Chroma can be looked at as the brightness of a color when compared to white.


SATURATION

Next we have saturation which refers to how a hue appears under particular lighting conditions. Think of saturation in terms of weak vs. strong or pale vs. pure hues. In design, colors with similar saturation levels make for more cohesive-looking designs. Akin to chroma, colors with similar but not identical saturations can have a harsh effect on your designs. Hence why it’s important to mix your colors wisely.


VALUE

Don’t be confused with the term “value”. Rather, just think of it as “lightness.” It refers to how light or dark a color is. Lighter colors have higher values. For example, orange has a higher value than navy blue or dark purple. Black has the lowest value of any hue, and white the highest. Simple, no?

 

TONES

Tones are created when grey is added to a hue. Tones are usually duller or softer-looking than pure hues. They’re often easier to use in and can lend a certain “vintage” feel to your designs. Depending on the hues, they can also add sophistication and elegance. Not every design needs to be bright and striking.


SHADES

A shade is created when black is added to a hue, making it darker. You’ll often hear it incorrectly used to describe tint or tone, but technically shade only applies to hues made darker by adding the color black. In design, very dark shades are sometimes used instead of black and can serve as neutrals. Combining shades with tints or lighter neutrals is best to avoid too dark and heavy designs.


TINTS

Last but most certainly not least, we come down to tint. A tint is formed when white is added to a hue, lightening it. Very light tints are sometimes called pastels, but any pure hue with white added to it is technically a tint. Tints are often used to create feminine or lighter designs. Pastel tints are especially used to make designs more feminine and but they also work really well in vintage designs.

 

TLDR

While you don’t necessarily have to remember all of these technical terms, you should be familiar with the actual concepts. If you suffer from short-term memory loss, here’s a cheat sheet to jog your memory:


  • Hue is color (blue, green, red, etc.).
  • Chroma is the purity of a color (a high chroma has no added black, white or gray).
  • Saturation refers to how strong or weak a color is (high saturation being strong).
  • Value refers to how light or dark a color is (light having a high value).
  • Tones are created by adding gray to a color, making it duller than the original.
  • Shades are created by adding black to a color, making it darker than the original.
  • Tints are created by adding white to a color, making it lighter than the original.

 


 

The Basics Of Branding

Branding is one of the most critical aspects of any business, be it large or small, retail or B2B. Having an effective brand strategy can give you a major edge in the ever-increasing competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean? How can it affect a small business like yours and should you care at all about all the complexities of branding?

To put is simply, your brand is your promise to your customers. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, while also differentiating you from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and how you want people to see you.

Do you consider yourself as someone who is innovative in your industry? Or are you the more experienced and reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You’ll need to choose one because you can’t be both. There’s simply no way to be all things to all people. Who you are should be based to some extent on who your target customers want and need you to be.

The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and promotional materials. All the elements combined should integrate with your logo, thus communicate your brand.

 

Brand Strategy & Equity

Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. And what you communicate visually and verbally are part of your brand strategy, as well.

Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company’s products or services will allow you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products would normally charge. A simple obvious example of this would be Coke vs. a generic soda. Because Coca-Cola has built a powerful brand equity, it can charge more for its product, and you can clearly see that customers are willing to pay the higher price.

Defining Your Brand

Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. To help you out on this journey, take the time and really think on how to answer the following questions:

  • What is your company’s mission?
  • What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
  • What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
  • What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?

Because defining your brand and developing a brand strategy can be complex and overwhelming, consider hiring the expertise of a Branding Agency, who are experts in the ins and outs of brand strategy, to help you out.


Color Theory For Designer (Part 1)

It goes without saying that the use of color is an important aspect when it comes to design. The correct use of color can make a break a design especially when said design is created for branding or marketing purposes.

A color that can evoke one reaction in one person may evoke the opposite reaction in another, due to culture, prior association, or even just personal preference. Knowing the effects color has on most people is an incredibly valuable expertise that designers can master and offer to their clients.

Color theory is an immense topic. Going too in depth on the ins and outs of color theory would be too long for such a small blog as ours. Instead, this will be a two-part article where wee will first give you a brief rundown on the different types of color families as well as what they’re usually used for when creating your designs. We’ll go a bit more in depth on the ins and outs of color theory in part 2.


WARM COLORS

  • Warm colors include red, orange, and yellow, and variations of those three colors. These are the colors of fire, of fall leaves, and of sunsets and sunrises, and are generally energizing, passionate, and positive. Use warm colors in your designs to reflect passion, happiness, enthusiasm, and energy.


COOL COLORS

  • Cool colors include green, blue, and purple, are often more subdued than warm colors. They are the colors of night, of water, of nature, and are usually calming, relaxing, and modest. Use cool colors in your designs to give a sense of calm or professionalism.


NEUTRAL COLORS

  • Neutral colors include black, white, grey, brown, beige, tan, cream and ivory. They often serve as the backdrop in design. They’re commonly combined with brighter accent colors. But they can also be used on their own in designs and can create very sophisticated layouts. The meanings and impressions of neutral colors are much more affected by the colors that surround them than are warm and cool colors.


To sum it up, color theory is as much about the feeling a particular color shade causes a particular person to feel. Here’s a quick reference guide for the common meanings of some of the colors:

  • Red: Passion, Love, Anger
  • Orange: Energy, Happiness, Vitality
  • Yellow: Happiness, Hope, Deceit
  • Green: New Beginnings, Abundance, Nature
  • Blue: Calm, Responsible, Sadness
  • Purple: Creativity, Royalty, Wealth
  • Black: Mystery, Elegance, Evil
  • Gray: Moody, Conservative, Formality
  • White: Purity, Cleanliness, Virtue
  • Brown: Nature, Wholesomeness, Dependability
  • Tan or Beige: Conservative, Piety, Dull
  • Cream or Ivory: Calm, Elegant, Purity

So, in short, we can conclude that choosing the correct colors can have a major impact on your design choices. When figuring out the colors to use in your designs and other creative projects, search for inspiration all around you. Look outside and take in the natural hues or observe established works of art across all disciplines to see colors combinations you might not have thought of originally. Step outside of your color comfort zone if you want to conjure up some truly eye-catching palettes.