In 2017 we had the privilege of launching an innovative brand onto the market at precisely the right time to disrupt an industry ripe for radical change: the tourism industry. The name of the brand we helped launch is Cape Comoot.
"Disruption is meant to challenge the 'way it is', by pulling the proverbial rug out from under the status quo."
The idea of disruption alone in business is exciting. Disruption is meant to challenge the "way it is", by pulling the proverbial rug out from under the status quo. Launching Cape Comoot was exciting not because it was a particularly complicated concept executed well, but it was more of a simple concept executed at exactly the right time. It's all about the timing of brands that sets them apart from their competition. Let's face it, brilliant ideas launched at the wrong time will never reach their full potential... period. Very few people know that three years before Steve Jobs launched the first iPod, a portable digital audio player was released by a Korean company. It was called MPman. Ever heard of it? Exactly! Wrong timing, brilliant product, effective marketing, product flopped. In fact the Apple iPod was ready to go to market, but Apple waited for three years until they felt the time was right. It was! The rest is history. Similarly if Uber had launched their app as little as five years earlier, I'll be as bold as to say that it would not have changed travel as we know it today.
As a creative agency we had a lot of fun designing Cape Comoot's aesthetics, because that's what we do but it was the psychology behind the disruptive innovation of this brand that actually kept me up at night. South Africa needs bold entrepreneurs to innovate and disrupt whole industries for positive change. Similarly the tourism industry needed disrupting, which is exactly what Cape Comoot achieved. Simply put, the tourism industry has been charging top dollar for way too long because they feel they can. With the right mix of foreign naivety, there is a lot of money to be made in tourism. This is ludicrous, the tourism model is known for slapping a 20% commission on any and everything. I don't know about you, but mamma never taught me to steal from the naive. The brains behind Cape Comoot launched the very successful Cape Town Free Walking tours four years prior. This too has been disruptive, because it is a model offering free tour guides around the various top destinations of Cape Town working a tip-only model. The Cape Town Free Walking tours now boasts over 70,000 people enjoying their tours annually. A free tour service in a cauldron of greedy tour guides and companies.
The Cape Comoot model is a simple one really: it's a shuttle service that operates daily from Cape Town to Cape Point or Franschhoek for only R99 per trip. Until now tourists couldn't get to and from Cape Point for under R600 which is the cost of an average car hire. Uber to Franschhoek will set you back R600 one-way and the average cost of a hotel shuttle is R800. Comoot tickets are bought on their web/mobi site (capecomoot.com), similar to the usual flight ticket-style purchase. You get issued with a digital ticket with a scannable QR code that gets scanned when boarding the shuttle. No cash, no schnick schnack! Easy, cheap, no nonsense travel!
This one ticked all the boxes for us. We dreamed, we designed, we coded and can now spend only R99 to get to Franschhoek to celebrate a game-changer with a glass of Cape Town's best red.
How do you know your ideas are disruptive?
After only two months of service, Cape Comoot was forced to close its operations by a major player in the tourism industry. True disruption will always have that effect on major players who can either choose to play the game of monopoly by acting fast to further change the industry out of reach or find other ways to counter-disrupt... it usually isn't the latter. For now Cape Comoot have stopped all trips until further notice.
Harvard business review's explanation of disruptive innovation:
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