It seems that disrupters and the disrupted get all the attention these days.
You know who never seems to make headlines? Brands that have been around for 100+ years.
Such businesses definitely could have been disrupted, yet they are still growing, innovating and most importantly, remain highly respected.
This notion struck me during the winter holidays at a moment when I found myself simultaneously gift shopping (online), watching TV and brushing my teeth. Yes, I know that sounds weird, but here are the three brands that may consciously or unconsciously have mastered the art of disruption avoidance:
- National Geographic
- ARM & HAMMER™
I’d dropped into my local Hallmark store to buy some greeting cards and peruse the gift selection. If you step back and look at what the stores sell, it may seem like a hodgepodge. In addition to greeting cards, these shops tend to stock kitschy mugs, eye-catching jewelry, stylish scarves and home goods, and lots of knickknacks.
But when I took a closer look, I found myself tearing up at nearly every turn. Why? These “products” were actually vehicles for messages that hit people in the heart.
On the surface, the company appears to be in the greeting card and gift business, though that is not how the company defines their “why.” They define it as: “Making the world a more caring place by helping each other laugh, love, heal, say thanks and make meaningful connections with others.”
Now that’s an enduring mission!
Back home, despite many TV channel choices, I had a hard time finding programs that are appealing. Nevertheless, one evening my husband and I stumbled upon a fascinating show about Mars. It exposed facts about which I was not aware. More importantly, the show gripped us and made us feel as though we were actually visiting the Red Planet.
I was curious about who produced the program. Then I saw the little yellow rectangle and knew it was National Geographic.
I remember collecting that magazine as a kid. I had hundreds of them. Today, when viewing the company through the eyes of someone who examines business innovation and disruption, it would seem that the magazine might have become obsolete, as people now get their information in various other ways. Many magazines have gone out of business or have been bought and sold because of this trend. But National Geographic is still on newsstands.
If print media is so much less relevant today than, say, 50 years ago, how has National Geographic survived since 1888?