Ten types of challenger narratives

Challenger Type: The Real & Human Challenger
A ‘real’ people brand in a faceless category. Real people visible behind the brand. Often accompanied by the perception of ‘small’ in stature.

What is it challenging? The impersonality and facelessness of the market leader or category.

Why does its consumer respond to it? ‘At last some real people who understand what I am all about’.

Challenger Type: The Missionary
A challenger fired up with a view about the world it has to share, wearing a strong sense of purpose on its sleeve.

What is it challenging? The belief system or foundations underpinning the category the way the category has thought and behaved to date.
Why does its consumer respond to it? Identification with the challenger’s beliefs about category (and the way category ought to fit within the wider world).

Challenger Type: The Irreverent Maverick 
Poke beige in the eye.

What is it challenging? The complacency and narrow-mindedness of the status quo and those who keep to it.

Why does its consumer respond to it? Engagement with its attitude, character and irreverence.

Challenger Type: The Game Changer
A brand and product with an entirely new perspective on the possibilities of a category, which invites the consumer to participate in the category in a whole new way.

What is it challenging? The fundamental drivers and codes of the category to date. Not the beliefs or values – more the dimensions of the consumer experience it has played up and played down.

Why does its consumer respond to it? They are engaged by fresh perspective on a familiar market: ‘Wow, I’d never thought of this experience like that before’.

Challenger Type: The People’s Champion
A challenger that consciously sets itself up as on the side of the consumer, often specifically against the ‘cynical’/ fat cat market leader.

What is it challenging? The motives and interests of the market leader.

Why does its consumer respond to it? ‘They are fighting for me; if they win, I win’.

Challenger type: The Democratiser
A challenger that takes something previously exclusive (stylish, luxurious, expensive, hi tech), and makes it much more broadly available to the masses.

What is it challenging? ‘Elitism’, the idea that something should be available only to the privileged or wealthy.

Why does its consumer respond to it? The brand has given them access to a world that they hadn’t thought accessible to them.

Challenger Type: The Next Generation That was then, but this is now. New times call for new brands and services.

What is it challenging? The relevance of the Market Leader (and perhaps every other existing player in the market) to the modern world, or to the current generation.

Why does its consumer respond to it? ‘New times call for new brands, and I as a person am part of the new times’.

Challenger Type: The Enlightened Zagger
The enlightened brand deliberately swimming against the prevailing cultural or category tide.

What is it challenging? A prevailing and commonly/ unthinkingly accepted aspect of contemporary culture.

Why does its consumer respond to it? Through being provoked and stimulated by the surprising stance the challenger takes.

Challenger Type: The Visionary
Sets out higher vision of the brand benefit that transcends category nature.

What is it challenging? The mundanity of the way the category thinks about its (functional) nature and role.

Why does its consumer respond to it? A personal identification with the aspiration set out in the vision. 

Challenger Type: The Feisty Underdog
Stick it to Goliath.

What is it challenging? The dominance of (and unthinking consumer preference for) the market leader. 

Why does its consumer respond to it? Everyone loves an underdog – Oh, and given the choice between those two options, that does look like one to try…

(from http://eatbigfish.com/challenger-brand-narratives)

Some useful questions for improving or inventing products & services

  • Can the job (the consumer is trying to execute by using the product) be executed in a more efficient or effective sequence?
  • Do some customers struggle more with executing the job than others (for instance, novices versus experts, older versus younger?)
  • What struggles or inconveniences do customers experience because they must rely on multiple solutions to get the job done?
  • Is it possible to eliminate the need for particular inputs or outputs from the job?
  • Is it necessary that the customers execute all steps for which they are currently responsible? Can the burden be automated or shifted to someone else?
  • How many trends affect the way the job is executed in the future?
  • In what contexts do customers most struggle with executing the job today? Where else or when else might customers want to execute the job?

Opportunities at the step level

  • What causes variability (or unreliability) in executing this step? What causes execution to go off track?
  • Do some customers struggle more than others with this step?
  • What does this step’s ideal output look like (and in what ways is the current output less than ideal?)
  • Is this step more difficult to execute successfully in some contexts than others?
  • What are the biggest drawbacks of current solutions used to execute this step?
  • What makes executing this step time-consuming or inconvenient?