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Why Challenge?

Stephen Fenton

17 September 2012

Sometimes in business we have to take a step back, take a fresh look and realise that whilst we might be tiny fish in a very big pond we can swim upstream; where would David have been without this unflinching sense of adventure when he came face to face with the mighty Goliath?

In our quest for an effective framework for the new business Wayne and I totally understand what it is to feel small. We've had to take a few deep breaths ourselves and are now diving in. Much of the preparation for Zeke has been desk research and among the pile of books some real gems emerge. Widely reading around the hot marketing subject of Challenger Branding has inspired me to think of a few of our clients in these terms. After all any company, product or brand that is number 2 or even number 102 in its space has the potential to be a challenger brand. The challenger is the underdog, the rule breaker and the maverick but it is much more besides.

One of the key proponents in this strand of marketing is Adam Morgan, he suggest that its about several credos – a fresh perspective to the market, building a highly visible and emotionally appealing identity, devising a pervasive communication strategy and becoming ideas-centred rather than just chasing consumers. The challenger brand seems exciting and reckless at times. It looks at the conventions adopted in the landscape around it and upsets the status quo by offering a new take on the category or the market as a whole. When you're little perhaps you have to shout louder although being wacky alone won't always get you noticed; top-of-mind awareness for challengers is the result of a carefully crafted plan. This isn't a battle where the size of traditional media spend wins the day and why the choice to challenge can also make great financial sense. You need to have clarity of purpose to balance the smaller cheque book, earn thought leadership respect without the deepest pockets and reignite peoples imagination on a modest tank of fuel.

We urge our clients to let us help them create desire and know that for real "challengers" that means creating a compelling brand attitude too!

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