Why 2016 is the Year of the Challenger Brand

challenger brand strategy

What exactly is a Challenger Brand and why are they so interesting?
We’ve long been fans of Challenger Brands – businesses with the mindset to disrupt their category, to unlevel their playing field and upset their competitors’ apple carts.

We categorise ‘challengers’ by mindset – what’s seen as swimming against the tide in one category, might be a conservative evolution in another. Within the context of any category, Challenger Brands are those that set-out to do things differently, often differentiating by necessity to capture market share from established leaders when they are not in a position to go head-to-head – think Uber (the world’s largest taxi brand, yet they don’t own a single car) and Airbnb (the worlds largest hotel brand that doesn’t own a single room).

Want to know more about creating a stand-out challenger brand?

Mark Holden, Head of Strategy for Arena Media in the UK recently wrote an article on why he believes the global economy in 2016 is ripe for Challenger Brands to make their move.

As Holden states; “This phenomenon is not just about start-ups, digital powerhouses or ‘unicorns’. ‘Traditional’ brands (if such a thing exists today) also set expectations above and beyond their categories, regardless of size. They create services that are very quickly seen to be indispensable (Amazon), they find ways to collapse historical ‘trade-offs’ (Aldi) or simply design their services in ways that fundamentally make things easier for people (Paypal).”

Holden believes these brands embody modern challenger behaviour in their marketing in 5 key ways:

1. Focus on solving a problem customers may not have realised existed.

2. Have a clarity of purpose and mission that goes beyond making money.

3. A relentless focus on user experience.

4. They invert traditional media models.

5. They collapse the distinction between brand-response marketing.

Holden’s article was recently published on Minutehack, a UK based blog publishing fast information for entrepreneurs. I recommend you read the whole article here.

Airbnb advertising pic – Source: http://www.wearedesignstudio.com. License: All Rights Reserved.

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