How to Use Market Research to Become a Disruptive Brand

We live in a world where cars drive themselves, we can ask Alexa to turn the lights on, and packages magically appear on our doorsteps in two days or less. As consumers, we have started to expect more from the products and services we use each day. 

We’ve been given a taste of evolving technology combined with innovation and personalization, so now we seek out disruption from the brands we consume.  

Disruption is a way brands can meet customer needs, possibly even fixing a disconnect we didn’t even know existed. 

How to Use Market Research to Become a Disruptive Brand

How can your brand become as disruptive as Amazon, Airbnb, and Apple? By using market research to better understand your customer’s journey.


How can your brand become disruptive?

According to 20|20 Research, there are five ripples of disruption which have been caused by the initial splash from big brands such as Amazon, Airbnb, and Apple. 

Since these large companies have set consumer expectations, these five ripples are components customers have begun to expect when choosing where to spend their money. 

1. Serving a segment of one

Gone are the days of “one size fits all” products. Disruptive brands have begun to provide personalized experiences. 

Instead of categorizing consumers, each individual customer has become their own unique segment. Companies such as Care/of and Spotify use your data and personal information to create an experience that is customized for you, such as vitamins unique to what your body needs, new song recommendations based on your listening history. 

2. Eliminating friction 

As technology evolves, our lives are often made easier. In 2007, Netflix disrupted the video rental industry by bringing Blockbuster to the palm of your hand. However, they haven’t stopped there. 

In order to stay relevant, Netflix has eliminated problems we didn’t even realize we had as consumers until they solved them.

For example, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been binge-watching The Office and pressed the “skip intro” button. This feature has definitely made my experience as a customer for enjoyable, but I didn’t even think twice about the intro until this feature came about.

3. Becoming a solution

Every good story has a villain and a hero. Disruptive brands are the hero in the story, offering solutions the villains didn’t think of. 

For example, how did we function in a world before Google docs? Did we really email word documents back and forth without being able to simultaneously collaborate on the same project?  

4. Earning it. Every time. 

When consumers are given a choice to renew to your service each month rather than being contractually obligated, your brand has to work hard to earn their business each month. 

How is this disruptive? Look at T-Mobile, for example. Traditionally, having cell phone coverage from a major carrier meant signing a two-year contract.

However, T-Mobile offers its customers the option to choose them. Each month, T-Mobile customers choose the brand, time and time again. 

5. Owning the experience 

Your brand may offer its customers a specific product or service, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Your brand has the ability to integrate other aspects, expand its horizons, and become an industry disruptor. 

For example, Disney is among one of the largest disruptors. Starting with cartoons, expanding into theme parks, a cruise line, television channels, and beyond, Disney has successfully expanded and integrated beyond its initial purpose, allowing consumers to seamlessly incorporate many aspects of the brand into their day to day lives. 

When a brand listens to consumers, they have the power to become an essential part of its consumers’ lives. The question is, how can your brand become so important that it is essentially integrated into its consumers’ lives?


Disruptive brands understand the consumer journey and customer experience (CX). 

The consumer journey includes each of the steps a customer goes through when they interact with your brand. By understanding the consumer journey, you’ll be able to make better, more effective decisions and greatly improve your customers’ experiences with your products and/or services. 

Disruptive brands listen to trends and consumers. Even though their customers may report little to no pain points with current features, the most disruptive brands continue to evolve and fill gaps that weren’t so obvious. 

This is where market research comes into play.

At Drive Research, we use a variety of market research methods to understand the consumer journey and help our clients improve their customers’ experiences. 

Imagine being able to walk in your customers’ shoes; understanding how they interact with your brand in real-time. There’s no better way to capture authentic feedback than through mobile ethnography. 


What is mobile ethnography? 

Mapping a customer’s journey through mobile ethnography allows researchers to take an in-depth look into your customers’ experiences with your brand. This qualitative research method allows researchers to tag along with customers during their experiences with your brand through photos and videos taken by the participant. 

Participants remain in a natural environment throughout their research experiences because they are able to document their journies through their own devices.

In addition, mobile ethnography captures both verbal and nonverbal feedback for the researchers to report on, which helps researchers gather more clear insights. 

Why should brands use mobile ethnography? 

As a stakeholder in your company, it’s probably easy to assume how your products or services are used each day. Perhaps you’re even a loyal customer. However, your experiences with the company you work for might be a little too close to home to offer objective feedback. 

Following customer experiences closely will allow your brand to hear outside perspectives, realize gaps, and become more integrative into its consumers’ lives before pain points are even realized. 

Every form of contact a customer has with your brand can be defined as a customer experience. Whether it be a flight, advertisement, shopping trip, website visit, these experiences are directly associated with your brand. Mobile ethnography captures the strengths and weaknesses of your products and services in real-time. 

Give me an example of how to use mobile ethnography.

For example, an airline could use mobile ethnography to capture its customers’ experiences from check-in to the baggage claim. Participants would record their feedback on a wide range of items, such as customer service, allowing the airline to minimize weaknesses and capitalize on its strengths. 

Perhaps customers who checked-in via the mobile app had a worse experience than those who checked-in via the website. The airline can use this information to make improvements to its app, allowing more passengers to start off their journies on a positive note.

Learn more about the process of a mobile ethnography study with this case study.


Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Our team has the knowledge to execute a variety of research studies, including mobile ethnography.  

Interested in learning more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

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