We all love the underdog. It’s something in our  DNA. We naturally take the side of the challenger. That little guy that wants to take on the big guns.

Every market place has a challenger. That brand that wants to take on the establishment. The brand that wants to shake things up and change the entire market place. They may have limited resources and smaller budgets but they make up this shortfall with ambition and courage.

It’s no wonder we love the underdog.

So how does a challenger brand succeed?

We’ve had the pleasure of working with some great challenger brands over the last 15 years. We’ve seen new brands grow and flourish in the face of stiff competition. And tired and old brands re-invent and re-emerge as the challenger. We’ve seen many of them take on the market and win. And we’ve learned a couple of  things along the way. So if you’ve got the ambition then we’ve got the winning strategy.


Firstly a couple of ground rules. To be  successful challenger brand you have to want to be the best. Otherwise you are wasting your time. You have to be committed to excellence. To over-delivering on your product or service. You have to be a real ham in a market place of processed pink meat. Or a new app that wants to revolutionise the take away food market.Or a friendly regional  airline that flies directly to the centre of London rather than the suburbs.


RULE # 1


You are unique. So tell the world. Set out clearly who you are and what you do. Do not play by your competitor’s rules. Otherwise you will get lost in all the noise of the market place and end up promoting them. Make your own rules. Tell the world that you are a real ham. Made from 100% Irish pork with no added water. And let them find you.







Do and say the things that will change the way people think about the market. It can be an innovation like an app that will change the way you eat. No more being left on hold at busy times in busy take away restaurants. These are the things your new customers will notice and cause them to question the status quo.






You can’t be all things to all men. You will not be noticed and can’t afford it.

Focus your message. Be single minded. Say one thing. Over and over again. We fly direct to London. Not to outside London

Focus your media. Use the most optimum media for your target audience. And cut out everything else. You don’t need to be on all the media – you can’t afford it. Please note that often the most optimum media are not necessarily the cheapest. There is a good reason for that. Nobody is listening.

And concentrate your media into shorter bursts. This will increase the frequency and get you noticed.


Focus on your target market. Concentrate your message your target market. Cut out everybody else. Travellers to London who want to spend more time there rather than getting there. You can’t be all things to all men. Your message probably doesn’t matter to all men anyway. You will not be able to afford it and it will waste your precious resources in more ways than one.




RULE  #4


Fortunately for you the  advertising for most categories tends to speak with one voice. This gives you a big opportunity to stand out.  Don’t be shy.  Create advertising that will get noticed and will leverage your unique position. Do not create advertising that speaks with the same voice as the establishment. Otherwise you end up promoting the brand leader and they won’t send you a thank you card.



So to recap.

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