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Decoding the success of challenger brands

The Guardian // 15th June 2016

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Decoding the success of challenger brands” was written by Michael Sandstrom, for theguardian.com on Thursday 2nd June 2016 09.45 UTC

Challenger brands are often defined by their underdog mindset which allows for goals beyond their limited resources. The most successful ones have been those who realised when their market was changing and made it their mission to drive the change rather than fight it.

We, however, have come to the conclusion that the commercial success of these brands cannot solely be explained by an agile mindset that capitalises on changing market conditions with a disruptive brand positioning. Instead, it’s how they have activated this positioning in a way that is rooted in an understanding of human behaviour that has driven both trial and sales. At KHWS, we call this combination of brand and commercial thinking Brand Commerce.

Airbnb knew travellers wanted a different experience from staying at hotels and created a never-before-seen brand positioning, activated by getting people to experience their product (the website) as part of their campaigns, getting people to buy in to the brand without actually having to buy from it.

Innocent Drinks understood parent’s desire to keep their kids healthy and adapted their messaging to them, reframing their product to play to the five-a-day guidelines and justify their price premium.

The most successful challenger brands display a deep understanding of their customers and their behaviours; a crucial reason behind their success.

With an increasing need to defend marketing spend, brands cannot afford to create campaigns that only build brand awareness without delivering sales. To achieve both, our Brand Commerce approach is underpinned by a model that helps understand the human behaviours that trigger sales.

Identify these and discover opportunities that will move you from underdog to favourite.

Michael Sandstrom is strategic planner at KHWS

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