Being a Challenger Brand is not abouta state of market; being number twoor three or four doesn’t in itself makeyou a Challenger.A Challenger is, above all, a stateof mind. It is a brand, and a groupof people behind that brand, whosebusiness ambitions exceed itsconventional marketing resources. Asa consequence the brand will need tochange the category decision makingcriteria in its favour, to close theimplications of that gap.If we want or need to think like aChallenger then there are some coreprinciples for us to live and thriveby; The Eight Credos of SuccessfulChallenger Behaviour.
The great wave makers in any categoryare those who are new to it. This credoreminds us that in order to see the realopportunities for radical growth we mustsee through the clutter of knowledge and‘experience’ that makes up our existingstrategic thinking. Intelligent Naivetythose already deeply experienced in acategory to achieve this vital innocence.
Success as a Challenger Brand comesthrough developing a very clear senseof who you are and where you stand asa brand/business, built on a productor bra nd t r ut h t h at i s u n a r g u a ble.And then projecting that identityintensely, consistently, and salientlyin everything you do, to the pointwhere, like a lighthouse, consumersnotice you and can navigate by you,even if they are not looking for you.
Marketers talk as if there is one leader inevery category. In fact, there are two: themarket leader– the brand with the biggestshare and the biggest distribution, andthe thought leader – the brand that,while it may not be the largest, is theone that everyone is talking about, thathas the highest “sensed momentum” inthe consumers mind. Challenger Brandsstrive to become the thought leader.
Successful Challengers are brandsin a hurry: they need to puncturethe consumers autopilot and createreappraisal of themselves and theircategory swiftly and powerfully. Todo so, they create big, impactful actsor marketing ideas that capture theindifferent consumers imaginationand bring about a reevaluation of boththeir image in the consumers mind,and their role in the consumers life.
Challengers have fewer resources inalmost every aspect of the business andmarketing mix than the market leader,concentrate their focus, voice and actionsis actually one of the few advantages aChallenger has. Success for a Challengercomes not from prioritizing, but byi n order to c om mu n ic at e t hei r ide nt it y.
Challenger Brand will have chosento drive success through one or twokey activities, and to achieve thatsuccess the marketer must anticipateresistance and inertia in implementation,overcommitting to remove thosepotential barriers. Challengers do notsucceed through commitment, theysucceed through overcommitment.
For Challengers who aspire to domore with less clear communicationis not enough, capturing the target’simagination must be the advantage.Communication ideas and the pursuitof the right publicity and word of mouthcan in fact be the most powerful businesstool Challengers have at their disposal–not just as part of the marketingmix, but as a high leverage asset.
Success is a very dangerous thingit causes brands and people to stopbehaving in the way that made theminitially successful. A ChallengerBrand maintains its momentum, bothreal and perceived, by ensuring thatinstead of being consumer dependent,they are focused on the generation andimplementation of ideas – ideas thatconstantly refresh and renew the waythe consumer experiences the brand.