Brands that rise to the top of their industry are the ones capable of operationalizing disruption throughout their business operations.

In the final installment of this six-part series, creative strategist Tyler Leahy suggests healthy habits that hopeful disruptive brands should bake into the way they do business — spanning company culture, to goal-setting, to customer feedback, to operational analysis.

These healthy business operations habits require the entire company to operate with an entrepreneurial mentality. Becoming a disruptive brand requires a day-in, day-out commitment to innovation!

Alas, the final installment of my series for second-stage companies looking to grow disruptive brands. Links to all parts can be found here! Thanks for reading.

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Qualitative Research, Done Right

Part 3: Study the industry academically

Part 4: Audit your own company

Part 5: Big adjustments, minimized risk

Rinse and repeat
You can’t do a deep dive once, and hope for the best. If you want to disrupt your industry, this thinking needs to be baked into the way that you do business.

Operationalizing disruption is the best way to keep it going (you may find the flywheel concept to be a helpful framework). Here are my recommended steps, which will engage your whole team.


Collect multiple forms of feedback from existing customers on a regular basis — not just about their customer experience, but how your product or service fits into their lives, their unmet needs, their buying habits, and their preferred methods of communication and media consumption. Incentivize this audience in ways meaningful to them. Feedback vehicles could include:

  • Social media dialogue (response to customers’ private messages or public commenting)
  • Surveying through a loyalty program or email list
  • Interviewing particularly loyal customers 

Complete an annual brand, marketing, and customer experience competitive analysis of your industry. That whole learning process we talked about? Your team needs to be chipping away at it on a rolling basis to keep a pulse on where you are, and where you need to go. Otherwise, it will be too easy to fall behind. 

Create internal processes for new insights to be shared with your whole company and keep the communication lines open with everyone — not just the executive team, the CMO, or the head of sales.

Re-grade existing products annually on how well they’re meeting customer needs. 

Maintaining a clear vision and mission

  • Determine your non-negotiable brand values, even if aspirational, and re-evaluate annually.
  • Set criteria for your ideal retail partnerships, and use the criteria to vet opportunities. Re-evaluate criteria and existing partnerships annually.
  • Constantly re-assess your ability to fulfill your vision and mission, annually or more frequently. This will require company-wide input.
  • Re-sharpen your partnership pitches to be in service to your vision and mission on a rolling basis.

Launching new offerings

  • Start with “why” when assessing product details for new offerings — from distribution model, to pricepoint, and profit margin — to branding, packaging, and promotion. Every decision needs to have a clear reason.
  • Test all new products in a familiar market, collecting customer feedback, before a mass-market launch.

Playing offense

  • Set aggressive goals (quarterly, one-year, three-year, five-year)  and use timelines as accountability tools.
  • Build company culture standards and business operations processes that drive innovation, assigning employees to assess effectiveness going forward.
  • Attract talent interested in doing challenging work for a mission-driven, scaling brand. Doing transformative work isn’t for everyone!

The takeaways

There’s a lot to do! No doubt about it…but this is it what it takes in your business operations to think and act like a highly disruptive insurgent brand. The good news is, it’s doable.

Have questions? Ready for a rebrand, but not sure where to start? Send me a message. Thanks for reading!