Our whitepaper Challenging the Challengers examines the rise of the challenger brand and the increased threat this presents to established brands. It explores what is driving this movement and the behaviours that are contributing to challenger success in winning over the consumer. It raises the question, ‘Do established brands need to start behaving differently?’ Going on to answer this with an unmitigated ‘yes they do’.
To start getting under the skin of this business-critical issue, we commissioned quantitative research amongst over 1,000 people who had recently switched from established brands to challenger brands across eight categories: food, soft drinks, alcohol, household products, healthcare, toiletries, beauty and grooming products.
We gathered invaluable insights and used them to create a clearly defined picture of the threat posed by the Challenger, along with strategic pointers for survival and success as an established brand.
On 28th November 2018 at the House of Barnabas in Soho we held a breakfast event to launch the report. Simon Callender, Initials’ Creative Planning Director shared an overview of the research, before Initials’ CEO Jamie Matthews led a brand leader panel discussion featuring Heineken's Bas Bakker (Marketing Manager, Strongbow), Heloise Le Norcy-Trott (Group Marketing and Category Director, UK Lactalis) and Jeremy Carson (Founder and CEO of Fit Kit, a successful new challenger brand).
Our research found consumers are switching to challenger brands in their droves, with over two thirds of respondents saying being exposed to a multitude of marketing messages was making them less loyal to established brands. The findings expose five harsh truths established brands must tackle in the face of the challenger brand phenomenon.
We believe these findings should act as a wake-up call to brands. The rules of the game have changed, with challengers disrupting every one of the FMCG categories we examined. To compete effectively, established brands need to adopt more of a challenger mindset. Doing that requires bravery and a much greater appetite for risk. But in order to succeed they need to match a challenger’s sense of ambition and conviction. Regardless of category there is a lot to be learned from how the challengers are doing things.