How Using Challenger Branding Accelerates Business Growth

Jul 7, 2023 | Listen

How Using Challenger Branding Accelerates Business Growth

Building a successful business can be an uphill battle, particularly in a fiercely competitive landscape. With so many contenders all fighting for the attention of the same customer base, it’s easy for your brand to get lost in the crowd. But there’s a game-changing strategy that many businesses fail to consider: Challenger Branding.

This approach; deeply rooted in your beliefs and values, empowers you to carve out a unique brand identity and differentiate yourself from competitors.

By embracing the challenger mindset, you can challenge the status quo, disrupt the market, and captivate your target audience.

But what exactly is challenger branding?

Can it truly benefit small businesses?

And how can your company culture help to implement it effectively?

In today’s episode, Mike Sullivan and I discuss how to stand out in a competitive market and how you can revolutionize your branding approach via the Challenger Branding strategy. He also gives actionable tips on getting this started in your company today.



Timestamps for this week’s episode

  • 02:03 What are Challenger Brands?

  • 4:36 The importance of having radical clarity about your values on your brand positioning

  • 9:50 The pros and cons of getting branding experts to help position your business

  • 15:44 How leadership development improves culture and helps organizations become great places to work.

  • 36:05 The first actionable step to take in the next week or two to get started on building a challenger brand

“Every challenger brand leader needs to get really clear on their values.” – Mike Sullivan

What are Challenger Brands?

Challenger brands are not the leading brands in a category yet; they strive to become the category leader or overtake the brand just ahead of them.

Successful examples of challenger brands include Uber, Airbnb, and Redbull.

Challenger brands have unique cultures of ambition, commitment, and willingness which help them succeed in the marketplace and differentiate themselves from market leaders.

You (or your brand) can't be all things to all people. That's a tragic marketing mistake that we see all the time.

The importance of having radical clarity about your values on your brand positioning

Being radically clear about your identity as a company and knowing exactly who you are, what you do, and what you stand – and don’t – stand for will attract the right customers who will share your beliefs and values and repel those who don’t.

You’ll then present a consistent and coherent image to the world, making it easier for people to understand what your business is about and what it has to offer.

This clarity is essential for creating a strong brand and building a loyal customer base.

“Get radically focused on your customer, understand who they are, understand what your values are, and then build a product or a service offering that is custom-tailored bespoke for them.” – Mike Sullivan

The pros and cons of getting branding experts to help position your business

Bringing in branding experts will provide guidance and new perspectives that can enhance your marketing strategy.

It’s a case of “Two heads are better than one”, and bringing in external consultants or seeking advice from others in your network can help test your thinking and lead to more novel solutions.

However, expect resistance from some of your team members. It might take time and effort to convince them to accept a new positioning strategy for your business.

Your brand is what people think it's like to do business with you.

How leadership development improves culture and helps organizations become great places to work

When leaders continuously develop themselves, they ensure the success of their organization.

Leadership development can:

  • improve self-awareness
  • provide more options
  • help elevate the awareness of those around you.

This will uplift your organization’s culture and even get your company recognized as one of the “best places to work.”

“Leaders get the organization they deserve, and the organization only develops as far as the leader develops.” – Mike Sullivan

Actionable step

Treat your company the way you would treat someone you love. And you try to help it flourish in every way that you possibly can.

The first actionable step you can take in the next week or two to get started on building a challenger brand is to:

  • Get clear on your values
  • Write a mission statement
  • Create a vision statement

While this might not immediately win you, new customers, it will set forces in motion, making you your first investor in your own leadership, which is crucial to building a successful brand.


Summary

  • Challenger brands currently don’t lead in their category and strive to become the leader or overtake the brand just ahead of them. Their unique cultures of ambition, commitment, and willingness contribute to their success.
  • A well-defined identity allows a company to present a consistent image to the world, creating a strong brand and building a loyal customer base.
  • External guidance from branding experts or professionals can give you new perspectives and solutions that will help position your business effectively, but expect not everyone to jump on board; convincing others may require patience and effort.
  • Investing in your own leadership is crucial and here’s how to do it:
    • Get clear on your values and write them down.
    • Create a mission statement and a vision statement.
    • Invite peers in your business for their insights
    • Enroll in a leadership development program

    Transcript

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    About guest – Mike Sullivan

    President and CEO

    LOOMIS

    Mike is the President and CEO of LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency. For more than 30 years, he’s helped some of the country’s most successful companies build their brands. He is also the author of the book , “The Voice of the Underdog: How Challenger Brands Create Distinction by Thinking Culture First”

    Website: https://theloomisagency.com

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikesullivanatloomis/

    Email: Mike.sullivan@theloomisagency.com

    Author: 

    The Voice of the Underdog: How Challenger Brands Create Distinction by Thinking  

    Eating the Big Fish: How Challenger Brands Can Compete Against Brand Leaders:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eating-Big-Fish-Challenger-Compete/dp/0470238275

    David B Wolfe, Rajendra Sisodia, Jagdish Sheth: Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Firms-Endearment-World-Class-Companies-Passion/dp/0133382591


    About host – Kathy Svetina

    Kathy Svetina is a Fractional CFO for growing small businesses with $10M+ in annual revenue.

    Clients hire her when they’re unsure about what’s going on in their finances, are stressed out by making financial decisions, or need to structure their finances to keep up with their growth.

    She solves their nagging money mysteries and builds a financial structure with a tailored financial strategy. That way they can grow in a financially healthy and sustainable way.

    Kathy is based in Chicago, IL and works with clients all over the US.

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