How to disrupt? Start with adventurous customers, says Lyft CMO Kira Wampler

But that's only half the battle, she warned on Thursday at the ANA 2015 Masters of Marketing Conference.

ORLANDO, FL: One of the most important ways brands can be successfully disruptive is to harness adventurous consumers, said Lyft CMO Kira Wampler on Thursday at the ANA 2015 Masters of Marketing Conference in Orlando, Florida.

That group will interact with such a brand, as well as tell their friends and families about it and spend their money on its products, she said.

First, a brand has to generate a customer hypothesis about its product and use ethnography and insights to validate it. Then it should develop "crisp audience descriptions to guide decisions" and be ready to evolve rapidly once in the market, she added.

To manage disruption and keep up with consumers, a company has to buy, build, or partner with another business. For example, Wampler said Hertz, a well-established company, recently teamed up with startup Lyft to offer drivers who don’t own a car the option to rent.

Brands also have to harness disruption as consumers change how they use technology, such as transitioning from offering only Web content to multichannel content.

However, the hard part about disruption is driving change internally, added Wampler. To do that, brands should educate internal allies, such as legal and accounting, use real metrics that matter for the business, and celebrate and explain successes.

When a brand marketer is leading his or her team through disruption, it’s important to beware of shiny objects, celebrate failures, escape internal silos, and always be recruiting, said Wampler.

She added that purpose- and people-driven companies, such as Starbucks, invite profit. Wampler said the coffee chain recently decided to partner with Lyft instead of Uber because it believed Lyft’s business practices were a better fit with its brand values.

"We don’t think about crushing the competition; we think about crushing congestion [on the road]," said Wampler.

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