challenger brand marketing

10 Biggest Fears of Challenger Brands

The fall season is one of our favorite times of the year with its crisp temperatures, college football and World Series; although for many Challenger Brands, the fall also means budget reconciliation, brand reviews and planning for next year. And, of course, the fall represents the beginning of the holiday season, kicking off with Halloween.

For many, Halloween is the best of the holidays – candy, costumes, parties. For others, Halloween can be a scary time filled with surprises, monsters and plenty of tricks. This got us thinking about the scary nature of being a Challenger Brand. For many Challenger Brands, it’s Halloween everyday with lots of surprises (dynamic costs, dissatisfied customers, uncertain distribution), monsters (the competitive gorilla brands in your category) and tricks (unforeseen market conditions).

Every year the Book of Lists publishes its top 10 fears, and we are always amazed that the number one fear is consistently “Speaking in Front of a Crowd.” The other nine fears vary from year to year, but generally include: heights, insects/bugs, financial problems, deep water, sickness, flying, loneliness, dogs and death. As Jay Leno once said, “I guess we’d rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy.”

In honor of the scariest time of the year, we thought we’d share the top 10 Biggest Fears of Challenger Brands – all actually articulated by Challenger Brand leaders. Sound familiar?

Failing – What if this all falls apart?
Shared Vision – How do I get my team to believe in my vision?
Not Being Good Enough – What if my product/service isn’t good enough, what if I’m not good enough?
Additional Funding – I dread having to secure another round of funding.
Competitive Pressures – The incessant pressures of competitive pricing, distribution, equity, awareness, etc., can be overwhelming.
Attracting New Customers – I know if I can get people to try my product/service, they will become a customer. It’s the getting them to try part that’s difficult.
Building a Team – Finding the right people, both talented and motivated, is my biggest barrier to success.
Lack of a Plan – We always have a plan, and that plan always changes. Seems like we’re constantly working without a concrete plan in place.
Demonstrating Value – Our customers are not seeing the value in our product/service. Our pricing should be communicating value not expensive.
The Unknown – Not knowing what waits for you around the next corner is the most thrilling and terrifying part of running a business.

As the Champion of the Challenger Brand, we help companies take on and conquer their fears everyday. Let us know if any of these fears are keeping you up at night and contact us at

Until next time…

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