A brand is considered ‘challenger’ when it’s neither a market leader nor a niche offering. Characterised by ambition to affect change, these brands seek to pull off the unimaginable and emerge as a force to be reckoned with in the marketplace. Running a company like this requires a different approach. Here’s how challenger brands can better position themselves and market themselves more effectively.
Partner with those similar
Partnerships are the lifeblood of challenger brands. Often when a challenger brand enters the marketplace, they are immediately priced out by existing market leaders who will buy up all the media until the end of the calendar year, essentially blocking any competitors from successfully gaining exposure. Media providers realise that brands want exclusivity, so they up their prices and challenger brands are priced out of the race.
However, when ad inventory goes low, and prices rise, new media providers come to the fore and offer challenger brands the chance to compete for advertising space. The new publishers enter the market knowing there will be challenger brands operating, who are unable to shell out the big bucks. The challenger brand gets affordable exposure and a chance to compete, while the media outlet gets to compete with the bigger players, with a fiscally attractive product offering.
As a young upstart, your brand is challenging the established order. Many in the past have done this by exploiting the old guard’s weaknesses. The market leader is then knocked off its perch by way of new ideas that seek to resolve existing problems. Uber challenged traditional taxis in this way. In this case, by recognising that it was unaffordable to many consumers. Uber shouted from the rooftop so much about its affordability that this attracted members of the press looking for a story. It also allowed early adopters who love getting into new brands who have a unique angle and a full style of communication, to come on board.
As a challenger brand, you should spend, but spend wisely. Look at hiring vendors and agencies who will manage your money as if it were their own. With analytics, you can keep tabs on your expenditure and measure your ROI. When what you want to be doing is spending on advertising, it can be frustrating to realise, that you are haemorrhaging money on recruitment. The gig economy is your friend. Save cash on recruitment by opting to do it yourself, instead of paying expensive agencies to recruit your staff.
By following the suggestions above, your challenger brand could become the next key player in tomorrows marketplace. By partnering with the right, similar challenger brands and exploiting the weaknesses of the more established brands around you, you could soon be doing what one-time unknowns Netflix is doing with the film industry.