Toast is known for championing challenger brands and startups. We watch out for the latest challengers coming to market and feature some of them here.
Being a successful challenger
Getting your challenger advertising just right is an essential step in the evolution of a challenger brand. Being a challenger gives you the freedom to be more agile, quirky or look new. Your smaller size and lack of mid-level administrative bloat also mean you can react quicker.
Toast has worked with many challenger companies over the years. We find that dealing with company owners and founders makes the for a swifter decision-making process. You can use your size as a competitive advantage. Move quicker, get products to market faster or respond to changing trends with a new product or service more quickly than competitors.
The next unicorn?Once rumours of the project leaked out we came under intense interest from various parties in venture capital land. Quotes about the project are too numerous to mention. It reminded all at Toast of the now-famous “project ginger” from a few years back. We were about the change the food delivery landscape forever, our drone delivery idea was to be revolutionary. Toast invited investors to London for secret demos a few months after starting up. Then the service ran in stealth mode for about 6 months. We experienced problems in secretly beta testing the service in a built-up area. We found a new location, Frenchman Flat Nevada after initial scouting. It seemed a good location given its secret nature and numerous abandoned building structures. We later ruled out ex-nuclear testing site Frenchman Flat as the drone rotors had a tendency to stir up ground dust which would be a health risk.
Getting the challenger advertising strategy right
Perhaps you’re better at customer service than the incumbent in your sector. If you’re web-based, you can spend your time working out what doesn’t work on competitor websites and make your user experience better.
When devising a challenger advertising strategy, there is no point following the same route as everyone else. To stand out, you have to be different; doing anything else will be wallpaper.
Challenger advertising has the opportunity to fail without the enormous consequences of a mistake at a large company. Picking up from a failure is quicker and less painful. Conversely, a successful advertising campaign launched by a challenger brand can unseat an incumbent.
Accepting the status quo will mean your challenger status fades quickly, and you will miss the opportunity to overtake the competition.
Taking on an establishment brand
Taking on an established market leader can be daunting. Leading brands, in theory, have a huge bankroll, but these days they are more likely to have sizeable corporate debt on their balance sheets. Or they could be stuck in a cycle of dividend payments and share buybacks issued to prop up their share price and keep their top-level executive happy. Don’t get hung up on size, products and service matter.
A great example of challenger advertising is the David and Goliath battle between Fever-Tree and Schweppes. Fever-Tree took on Schweppes. Schweppes was the market leader in the tonic water world. Nobody ever saw the need for an alternative. But once a new challenger appeared Schweppes suddenly seemed old-hat.
Fever-Tree was for the younger generation to mix in their cool cocktails. Schweppes was instantly seen as the tonic water of their parents Gin & tonics.
Fever-Tree used their challenger status to breakthrough into the mainstream. Once in the mainstream, they could start appealing the consumers with real spending power. The G&T drinking parents! Schweppes as no longer fresh enough for their G&Ts.
Brand building with TV advertising
Brands often use social media to build a following. Social media is an excellent start as it can be very cost-effective. The challenge comes when user growth starts to plateau. As a startup, user growth is a great way to attain more financing.
Hopefully, the social following has resulted in funding. This funding can be invested in marketing. When a startup is looking for challenger advertising that will move the needle, TV advertising is hard to beat.
Get ahead of the wave of challengers by doing something different. The first brand to embrace TV advertising surges into the public’s imagination. Being on TV gives their brand the trust needed to appeal to a mass market and build long term gains.
If you’re looking for a challenger brand advertising agency do get in touch. We can help you through the process of challenger advertising.