Carlo D’Alanno, Executive Creative Director at Rufus Leonard explores how the integration of your brand and your people with your technology is the secret to delivering meaningful and game-changing disruption.

What makes a truly transformational and disruptive idea? The answer is two-fold. Firstly, these ideas understand and respond to new behaviours while leveraging new or underutilised technology. And secondly, they often come from ambitious organisations who understand how to integrate the right people and skills to stretch a vision and deliver on a single, motivating purpose or mission.

In short, game-changing ideas create real-world impact for people and businesses. And this happens when creativity and technology come together. After all, companies that harness technology to deliver their promise grow 4X faster than their competitors.

Carlo D’Alanno, Executive Creative Director at Rufus Leonard explores how the integration of your brand and your people with your technology is the secret to delivering meaningful and game-changing disruption.

Your brand is your difference

Brands that dominate have a credible offering delivered in a way that others can’t (or don’t think of first). Think Nike+ turning a footwear brand into a premium fitness provider. Zipcar proving the sharing economy can work with real stuff. Or Kickstarter connecting bedroom entrepreneurs with investment. Find your distinct position and build around a mission that your people can buy into and your customer experience can deliver on.

It’s about identifying and investing in hero moments along the journey – specifically where your brand could credibly provide a unique experience – which will create a memorable experience for your customers. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Threads – customer journey mapping and digital ecosystem design at its best

The idea: Personal, luxury fashion shopping through Instagram and WhatsApp/WeChat.

The stretch: For a sector that’s build around appearances, Threads have understood that so many customers now engage with brands via social and avoid retail spaces when in ‘research mode’. They have taken a seemingly vital channel out of the mix.

The transformation: Pioneers in chat-commerce, they’ve built a platform where someone sees an item on social, starts a chat with an adviser and completes the purchase in the app. This means integration into social platforms, and retailer/manufacturer inventories, as well as secure payment technologies.

The impact: With an average transaction value of $2.5k per-spend, and a recent funding round of $20m, they have become a significant partner in the fashion retail mix.

Squarespace – democratising a previously closed world

The idea: A website-building tool for anyone with a computer and an idea.

The stretch: They democratised the previously closed world of website creation, giving the tools to the people with the business idea, but not the design and code skills.

The transformation: Building code into templates transformed the way sites can be built without the need for training or expertise. Complete with a user interface that champions their own principles of simplicity, and accessibility. It’s a rare thing – a beautiful piece of software.

The impact: 2m+ subscribers, valued at $1.7bn, hosting circa 350k websites with 22% market share (self-editing and publishing plus hosting). These big numbers speak to their success in growing a previously untapped niche: entrepreneurs and small-scale start-ups looking for a cost-effective and beautiful route to market.

R2 Data Labs – from manufacturing to a data analytics powerhouse 

The idea: A data innovation catalyst inside Rolls Royce.

The stretch: Improving the way customers operate by delivering untapped value and insight from aggregating a myriad of data sources.

The transformation: Utilising new technology in Machine Learning and AI, they’ve moved the company from a product-based to a service-based model. Working in partnership with other Rolls Royce business units using manufacturing and design to build a virtual environment for experimentation that will give customers unparalleled insight and the ability to understand their data in new visual ways.

The impact: These data analytical capabilities improve efficiency, productivity and risk management. New data insight is impacting the ways Roll Royce design and manufacture their products and has opened up new revenue stream in aftersales care. R2 Data Labs is building data innovation communities through skill sharing, accelerator programmes and partnerships.

Creating a culture of shared creative leadership

To embed game-changing thinking into your organisation, it’s important to nurture the integration of passion and profession, encouraging your people to be the driving force behind shaping your business. So ask yourself and your employees these questions:

  • Passion: how might we help people find the ‘one thing’ that motivates their work?
  • Purpose: how might we identify the common goal that brings individual passions together?
  • Flow: how might we create a way of working and environment that lets a team get immersed and motivated and, be supportive and honest?
  • Risk Taking: how might we make it possible, and acceptable, to stretch our clients outside of their comfort zone?

Your key takeout

How you answer these questions will be unique to your business, culture and sector. The common thread that all successfully, strategic and creative brands share is a willingness to integrate and delegate. To bring together people with diverse talents, passions, backgrounds and skillsets and to support them to solve the company’s biggest problems for themselves. 

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