How to Compete with Bigger Challenger Brands

Bigger isn’t always better. In fact, being big can sometimes work against businesses. It’s possible to be too big, in a way that’s detrimental to a company’s long-term success. That gives challenger brands a major advantage, especially in today’s technology-driven landscape.

The Perks of Being Small

While it’s the goal of every business to bring in as much revenue as possible, success comes at a price. That price usually comes in the form of added administration and more layers of corporate hierarchy. Not only does this put a drain on the bottom line, but it also separates the decision makers from the heart of the operation.

This can have a significant impact on all areas of the business. In the short term, a layered corporate infrastructure isolates executives from what’s happening on the ground floor of their companies. They might not be aware of production issues, personnel conflicts or decreases in morale. This disconnect is a major factor in employee turnover, resulting in loyal employees becoming discouraged wantaways.

The bigger issue, though, is that high-ranking employees are so consumed with tedious operational functions that they no longer have the time or energy to truly listen to the customer. They may issue the occasional survey, or they might browse through their Yelp reviews every so often. But the personal touch inevitably goes away – even if they’re trying to keep it intact. It’s simply what happens when a company gets bigger. There’s too much to do that gets in the way of hearing the customer as clearly as many executives might like.

Two-Way Communication

The inability of big business to cater to its customers individually provides a tremendous opportunity to challenger brands. The big brands don’t have time to listen to their customers. You do. And that’s where your continued focus must be if you want to take on your bigger opponents.

Before consumers make their presence felt with their wallets, they communicate in other ways. They talk to each other. They interact on social media. They stop in a showroom, or if they’re on the verge of becoming a former customer, they stop frequenting stores as often. Take note of these signs. Truly listen to your audience and take note of what they want from your company. A good company makes consumer feedback its top priority and works backward from there. Listen to what people have to say and base your decisions on this valuable information.

Respond to Changes

A smaller operation has fewer sales and products than a large conglomerate, but that’s not always a bad thing. In some cases, that can actually be a good thing.

Think about how much the world has changed over the last twelve months. It’s more socially conscious, video-oriented and vulnerable than ever. Now, think about a large company that not only has many layers of management but also has outdated software systems and a pre-determined marketing campaign that cannot be changed. Imagine how out of touch that company might seem in today’s climate.

On the other hand, consider your situation as a challenger brand. You need far fewer licenses and computer upgrades to match changing technological tastes. You can easily adapt your marketing strategy to meet both consumer expectations and the evolving world. The actions you take today, happen today. In a big company, it’s a series of memos and meetings that take weeks, if not months, before changes start to happen. Which situation would you rather be in?

Make Your Customers Proud

It’s become increasingly trendy for small businesses to promote its charitable endeavors. Businesses don’t do this to suck up to their customers; instead, they do it to show off what the company is all about. Modern businesses know it’s important to give back a portion of what they receive. It’s just one part of the overall story of a business.

That story is a major differentiator in today’s marketplace. People don’t just buy products; they buy everything that goes along with that company. Would you rather patronize a soulless chain restaurant or a small cafe that provides free meals to the less fortunate? Charity matters these days. And it’s a big reason why so many challenger brands have been able to find a niche in the marketplace, even amidst the presence of larger corporations.

As a challenger brand, your marketing goal is to achieve more than simply getting the word out about your products and services. You also want to showcase the soul of your business. You want people to feel good about supporting your company. You want to empower your audience to feel like they’re part of your business – because they are.

Life isn’t always easy as a challenger brand, but in some ways, the odds are in your favor. Sure, you can’t match the industry leaders dollar for dollar. But you can truly hear the voice of the customer and put that into your every action as a business. You can respond quickly and emphatically to any changes that occur socially, politically or technologically. And you can do one very important thing that a big business can never do – make people feel good for supporting the little guy.

Success as a challenger brand has never been closer to your reach. Go for the brass ring and make it happen. If you need a little assistance getting started, let us know how we can help.

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As a full service branding, advertising and interactive agency, we help Challenger Brands take on their industry gorillas and win.

Gumas is an award-winning, full-service advertising agency generally recognized as the country’s foremost experts on Challenger Brand Marketing®. We are dedicated to helping you take on your industry gorillas to quickly generate the greatest results from your marketing investment.

From research, strategy development, award-winning creative design, web development, digital media (including search, social media and everything in between); our goal is to create a marketing strategy specifically designed to help build your unique Challenger Brand. All the marketing support you need under one roof.

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