What challenger narrative and behaviour might help propel your brand forwards in 2020 and beyond? This was the central theme at the Marketing Academy Lecture on October 15th, when Adam Morgan, founder of eatbigfish, Hugh Cameron, Chair of PHD UK and Malcolm Devoy, Chief Strategy Officer PHD EMEA shared learnings and insights from their new book Overthrow II – 10 strategies from the new wave of challengers.
The concept of Challenger brands was first coined 20 years ago, in 1999, by Adam Morgan. At the time it was at the edge of the marketing world. People studied and wrote about leaders. Since then challenger thinking has inspired and fuelled brands to think and behave differently, to disrupt categories, to have a wider point of view. Over the last decade challenger strategy has entered the mainstream. In a world where growth is paramount, category leaders have recognised the imperative of adopting challenger methods.
The authors shared Overthrow II’s revisited narratives (from Local Heroes to People’s Champions) and shining examples of brands growing and making change by challenging something – not somebody – that really matters to them; Copa 90, Oatly, Mailchimp, Tony’s Chocolonely, and more. They explained consistencies in communications behaviour; brands focusing on effectiveness over efficiency, blending old or classic media with new media opportunities, aiming for share of distinctiveness not share of voice.
Overthrow II also marks a moment in time; an era which may become recognised as a golden age for challenger thinking in media and marketing. A time where venture capital funds armed with over £1.5 bn are flowing into challenger brands with the aim of creating a ripple effect of change through business and society, as well as a good commercial return.
Overthrow II is a catalyst for how brands of all sizes – whatever their category, competition, heritage or personality – can benefit from adopting a challenger mindset to drive more ambitious growth and make the impact they desire in 2020 and beyond.