As any business knows, growth is key to becoming and remaining successful. But in a market full of incumbents, how do you grow a disruptive brand and deal with the challenges along the way? This is really the essence behind Marketing Week's 100 Disruptive Brands campaign, which we've loved being a big part of since the beginning. 

In this, the final video of interviews with disruptive brands, six disruptors describe the key drivers behind their success (you can find links to the other five videos at the end of this article). 

Here are the 5 core principles driving the success of the UK's most disruptive brands: 

1. Think big (like, really big)

If we’ve learned anything from the most successful disruptive brands such as Airbnb and Uber, it’s that no goal is too ambitious. Without this level of ambition, it’s impossible to transform a disruptive idea into a successful brand

When you’re still small, trying to emulate the biggest, best or most admired brands in the world may feel scary – presumptuous, even. But James Kirkham, Chief Strategy Officer of Copa90, believes it’s this attitude that makes it possible to achieve great things. 

“We’ve probably made no apologies for being very open about the intent of the business. We want to be the most influential sports-media brand on the planet. Which perhaps feels incredibly grandiose and I’m sure a few people will probably look quizzically at us. But we genuinely believe we’ve got a chance of doing that.” – James Kirkham, Chief Strategy Officer, Copa90

2. Don’t be afraid to disrupt whole industries

Sometimes, if you really want to serve your customers well, you need to turn your entire industry on its head. 

Kirsty Emery, co-founder of made-to-order knitwear manufacturer Unmade, is focusing on revolutionising the culture of the custom-made garment sector. 

“To be a truly disruptive company, we believe that you need to disrupt the whole industry. So that is the next step that we’re making. We’re going out and we’re speaking to brands and starting to work with the world’s most innovative brands and helping them to engage closer with their customers and offer their customers truly personal garments.” – Kirsty Emery, Co-founder, Unmade

3. Build the brand, then expand

Creating a successful global brand doesn’t happen overnight. It can take a lot of time and resource to nurture the proposition into something that appeals to a wide range of customers. 

Up to now, performance marketing – marketing that’s closely tracked and measured, and funded on a pay-per-conversion basis – has been the only growth engine for online coffee retailer Pact. But, as founder Stephen Rapoport explains, this is all set to change. 

At first, Pact established and grew its customer base by offering a great product and market-leading service. Now, the company is focusing on expanding its offering through innovation. It’s enhancing the user experience, offering more customisation options, and developing new product lines. 

“This year is the year of product for Pact. So we’re doubling-down on our digital product (that is user experience), the level of control, level of customisation that our customers have within the service for themselves and also our product lines. So you should expect to see Pact releasing new and very innovative coffee products.” – Stephen Rapoport, Founder, Pact

4. Embrace the challenges

Disruptive brands constantly face challenges: from competing against established names to navigating cashflow issues and having to market on a shoestring. 

And when you add ambitions to scale up, you add more challenges too. But this shouldn’t put entrepreneurs off, says Eren Ozagir, founder and CEO of Push Doctor. Their pioneering spirit means disruptors relish challenges rather than shying away from them. 

“We’re moving from our ‘series A’ position now. We are scaling at the moment. And with that comes lots of operational and growth challenges, and they are all really exciting things for most entrepreneurs that like to get their hands dirty.” – Eren Ozagir, Founder and CEO, Push Doctor

5. Don’t go it alone

Even if you have the best team in the world, it’s a good idea to form partnerships with other brands. It’s great for relationship building and is sometimes necessary to take growth to the next level. 

Andy Hobsbawm, co-founder and CMO of Evrythng, says that focusing on the end-to-end solution gives the company access to external resources, knowledge and services that improve the overall customer experience.

“Focusing on how our product connects data into the ecosystem and how we ourselves form partnerships within the ecosystems around a customer, to make sure they can deliver everything they need to using our technology, is I think the main areas of our focus.” – Andy Hobsbawm, Co-founder and CMO, Evrythng

Take your brand from start-up to Top 100 disruptor

In this series, we’ve covered all aspects of what makes a disruptive brand and how to become one. 

From keeping your proposition simple and focused on the customer, to having a pioneering spirit and a willingness to take risks, there are many elements to a truly disruptive philosophy.  

If you have a business idea that you think could take the world by storm, the six posts in this series contain tons of advice and encouragement from fellow entrepreneurs. Check out any of the five you may have missed here:

  1. What Does it Mean to be a Disruptive Brand?
  2. How to Nurture Your Disruptive Brand Through the Early Years
  3. 5 Things Disruptive Brands Look For When They Hire
  4. How are Disruptive Brands Reimagining Marketing?
  5. What are the Biggest Challenges Facing Disruptive Brands?

If you want to get a jumpstart with your own small busines, download a copy of the Small Business, Big Impact e-book for inspiration and advice to help you develop and grow.