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Chris Bell

How to Build a Challenger Brand

Challenger brands are disruptors. They take on the industry giants and manage to steal a galactic portion of their market shares. For these companies, their vision requires massive changes to the industry’s ways of doing things. They bravely take on the challenge of effecting these changes and do it for everybody to see.

Before the idea of challenger brands came to be, industries were suffocating under monopolies. All that that existed in terms of excitement were ‘industry best practices’ designed to achieve consistent success.

Challenger brands innovate and do things differently, for instance, the way Lottoland’s lotto betting model is set to challenge the UK National Lottery.

How to Create a Challenger Brand

If you are tired of executing the same operations the same way every day and getting the same results, maybe it’s time to reprogram your whole business’ subconscious. That will give you a chance to unlock untapped potential, to make your brand go viral or turn lacklustre customers into brand fanatics.

The first thing a challenger brand needs is a transformative ambition. You should then be prepared to do anything to improve the current market situation. The best-known challenger brands today fight against old business concepts. They bring up new ones that offer more value to customers. The fight could be against high prices, skewed perceptions, or mediocre products and services.

Create a strong identity around your brand

The only way to get positive recognition for your defiance of limiting standards is by having a robust brand identity. That entails clearly defining who you are and letting customers know what you intend to change in the market.

Clients and other industry players need to be clear on what you stand for, and your yearly goals, experts say. Your vision needs to remain clear and consistent, regardless of the outcome of your disruption efforts.

Think and act out of the norm

The role of a challenger brand is to burst all myths and old beliefs that have expired. Your message should thus be simple and unique. Your uniqueness should not only show in product/service quality but also in the way you speak to your customers.

Your customers need to associate with the concerns you are going up against. They are probably the only ones who will be cheering you on as industry leaders try to take you down.

Leverage on emotions

Find out what customers dislike most about the existing brands in the market and build on that. Present your brand as a business that is set out to rectify injustices in some kind of way. There will be criticisms as is to be expected in any disruption process, but your brand should find ways to thrive off the resulting controversy.

Do as you promise and change the market

A challenger brand, after marketing, rolls up their sleeves and gets to work. The product and services have to be different from what is available, as you promised customers. Just ‘slightly different’ won’t cut it.

Your offerings have to go above and beyond what customers expect. Think of the difference that companies like Google and Skype brought to the market. It is one of a kind, and that’s what your disruption should be like.   

Keep improving and transforming the industry

One of the biggest problems for a challenger brand is marketing. At some point, it will be tempting to drop everything that defines you and sink into complacency like your competitors. Don’t do it. It takes time for a challenger brand to thrive. You will have to stick with your strategy to win with it.

There is no room to turn back once you start the disruption. If you do, that would be akin to suicide. All the customers’ trust in you will erode, and your competitors will find the upper hand. Whether your disruption is through a new product, distribution strategy, or business platform, keep working at it till you attain perfection.

If there is stiff competition in your niche, the only hope for your business is to adopt a challenger model. That will allow you to be seen and heard in an environment overshadowed by giant brands. With the above strategies, it should be easy to stand out and thrive.