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David vs Goliath: Embracing the challenger mindset

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David vs Goliath: Embracing the challenger mindset

  1. 1. v EMBRACING THE CHALLENGER MINDSET by
  2. 2. The first five brand stances are inherent. Brands need to be born that way. Changing your DNA is risky, as reinventing your brand makes it difficult to retain equity and your customers. In contrast, the David and Goliath opportunity is a mindset. It’s an attitude and a way of behaving rather than compromising your brand’s essence. This is the challenger mindset. David the Underdog Originally David was a synonym for smaller in size (or revenue) in ‘traditional’ challenger marketing. For example, Avis challenged Hertz’s Goliath by positioning themselves as a challenger by stating ‘We Try Harder’. This is the old type of challenger brand - a dominator and an underdog. Challenger brands, like Avis, have to differentiate their brands with emotional and rational points to compete against the ‘first-to-mind’ brand leader. Category leaders generally adopt a ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it’ ethos to minimise risk and fluctuations to their prime position. However, this restraint to change allows other brands to challenge their dominance with innovation, daring and creativity to find a point of difference. David the Disruptor In the brandscape of 2014, it isn’t about size. The startup mentality of today’s internet businesses has disrupted the challenger brands. It’s about disruption, the ‘sharing economy’ connects consumers to providers. This is more than brands - it’s about challenging entire sectors and categories. Airbnb are not taking on hotel brands - they’re taking on hotels. Tepilo, the online estate agency, takes a more extreme step in the challenging mindset by taking the entire estate agency model head-on. It’s an online estate agency that cuts out estate agents: both online and on the high street to allow homeowners to sell direct. Importantly, the customer experience has created a channel for both buyer and seller, removing the need for estate agents. Furthermore, the understanding of the user experience (UX) online and customer experience (CX) in real life are key components for a challenger brand to win market share. D vs AVID VS GOLIATH USED TO BE A CHALLENGER MINDSET: THE POWER BETWEEN THE SMALL AND MIGHTY. HOWEVER, THIS IS AN OUTDATED VIEWPOINT. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants’, he questions why underdogs succeed so much more than we expect and how do the weak outsmart the strong. He overturns conventional thinking about power and advantage. For brands this is the challenger mindset to embrace. Step up to the challenge Taking a stance and adopting a challenger marketplace is essential for the success of a brand. In the book ‘Eating Big Fish’, author Adam Morgan identifies six types of stances a challenger can take in their chosen marketplace: The Missionary An agent of change The Visionary Daring to be bold The Enlightened Zagger ‘Slow’ in a fast world The Real and Human Warm and friendly The People’s Champion Purpose before profit David to Goliath The challenger mindset
  3. 3. David, the Unexpected Disruptor Disruptive brands, such as Airbnb, who are rocking the traditional sectors don’t just affect the dominance of brand leaders but can often disrupt the entire category. Disruptive brands are often subject to context and market conditions, for example GetTaxi are number one in Israel but a challenger brand in London. It’s not about a state of market; not being number one does not make a challenger brand. Challenger is, above all, a state of mind. It is a brand, and a group of people behind that brand, whose business ambitions exceed it’s conventional marketing resources. As a consequence, the brand will need to change the category decision making criteria in it’s favour to close the implications of that gap. A Red Belt State of Mind Dave Anderson’s book Learn to Lead, talks of challenging mindset with a martial arts term: adopting a red belt state of mind: “Red belt” mentality, rather than the black belt mindset. Anderson explains: “the most dangerous fighters in karate dojos are the red belts. Red is the rank prior to black, and what makes the reds such tenacious fighters is the fact that they haven’t yet reached the top and still train with intensity and urgency. Black belts, on the other hand, often let up and downshift into a maintenance mode after working so long and hard to earn their elite rank.” Still-hungry red belts demonstrate a stronger commitment to improve, whereas a common tendency for black belts is to take a break once their goal is reached. Black belts have the champions mindset. Act like a challenger, even when you’re a champ. Challenge Everything Challenger brands don’t always have to be modest and humble like Avis. The new challenger mindset is disruptive. A brand could be the second biggest in a market, or the fiftieth, but they are the underdog and not the market leader or the hero brand. The best kind of challenger brands are bold innovators whereas the bad ones are copycats. At Forever Beta, we work with challenger brands such as taxi app GetTaxi, apparel and running brand Mizuno and Google (one of the most successful challenger brands of all time). We use strategic thinking and creativity to challenge the status quo and do work that works. Think like a challenger to win like a champion. Be David. Want to know how? Email Matt Rantell at Forever Beta mattr@forever-beta.com Challenger mindset Hungry Humble Teachable Something to prove Willing to serve Tries something new Works with a sense of urgency Plays to win Rattles the status quo Champions mindset Satisfied Arrogant Know-it-all Been there, done that Wants to be served Stuck in their ways Paces themselves Plays not to lose Defends the status quo

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