You’re one of the new challenger brands, there’s a buzz building on social media, you may even be the next big thing in your sector. Three cheers for you!  But how do you capitalise on this initial interest and stay relevant for the long term? It’s a problem a lot of new brands have.  Gaining long term consumer trust and awareness.

Everyone loves something new, the search for news is insatiable, bloggers, journalists, PR companies, TV, press radio.  All hungry for the next story. All wanting to give you some free publicity because you’re the new shiny thing on the block. And then after the initial buzz, nothing. There’s only so far you can go with free publicity. Once you are last week’s news you suddenly find you can’t get arrested, let alone a retweet. One day you’re Apple and the next you’re Atari, or how about going from Tesla to Hummer? You might think you’re the next Amazon but you might just be Borders. Once upon a time Blockbusters was bigger than Netflix.  So perhaps don’t crack open that bottle of Skinny Prosecco just yet until you have the muscle of Moet.

Aids Alliance TV advert

How do challenger brands thrive?

A lot of brands fail because they fail to expand, they fail to grow beyond one offer, and they allow their competitors to do the same thing but more cost-effectively and with greater aplomb. A market challenger will thrive by not resting on their laurels but continuing a culture of disruption, subversion and innovation.  However, they still need to do something long established successful brands do as a matter of course – They need to develop trust.

Trust is difficult.  It’s often seen as old-fashioned in the digital age.  It used to be that businesses reassured customer that they could be trusted by demonstrating their longevity. They were proud to emblazon their history on their marketing and their store fronts.  “Purveyors of fine meats since 1892”  “Established 1937” “Founded 1968”  But do today’s millennial shoppers give a hoot for provenance? It’s doubtable.

The search for the latest thing is now all pervasive. Even respected names seem to burn out quicker than ever before and perhaps brands have to get used to having their moment in the sun last for a much shorter period.  Say goodbye – BHS, Austin Read, Blinkbox, Phones 4U, Blackberry, Homebase, to name just a few household names that have fallen from grace recently.

Bacardi Lovebox Facebook

Marketing crime

With the all invasive world of social media brand reputation is now paramount. Values, worth to society, respect for the environment, being good. Fail on any of these and you can expect a Tsunami of disapproval from the online customer base.  A brand can go from hero to zero overnight. From this year’s model to last year’s thing in the click of a mouse.   And brands are not helping themselves.  They continue to commit the biggest marketing crime of modern times. They use social media to send commercial messages. Cluttering our online feeds with brand offers we never asked for and often have no interest in because we are not even the right target audience.

One way challenger brands can build their customer base and grow trust is by embracing old fashioned mediums. TV and print.  Traditionally these mediums have been seen as far too expensive for challenger brands and start-ups but marketing directors might be very pleasantly surprised to learn that costs have actually plummeted in recent years.  Challenger brands like Tootle, Moonpig, Notonthehighstreet, Just Eat, Hotwire, and many more have discovered that for ROI and gaining consumer trust a 30 second TV spot on the right channels at the right time is often unbeatable and consistently outperforms online marketing when it comes to the bottom line. And if you think TV is just not cool enough for your brand then tell that to AirBNB, Google, Spotify, and even Facebook who have all been advertising on TV recently.

Grow and evolve

So if Challenger brands want to stay the distance, grow and evolve then TV and print should still be in the marketing mix and probably deserve more due prominence.  The Content Marketing Association recently reported that a growing number of marketing directors were now not even considering TV and print as part of their spend.  That short sightedness could come back to haunt them.


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