Every day, business owners are pitched opportunities to take their brands in a ‘new’ direction or to stay the course—by colleagues, by their agencies, because of the actions of competitors or by delegations of customers or suppliers. When everyone has a tactic and everything is presented as a panacea, how do you sift the wheat from the wonk? How should brands commit to their future? The secrets I suggest here are singularity, over-commitment and a fundamental drive to keep challenging.
Every day, companies are pitched opportunities to take their business in a ‘new’ direction or to stay the course—by colleagues, by their consulting agencies, because of the actions of competitors or by delegations of customers or suppliers. It can be, as many a marketing manager has told me, bewildering. And many struggle to balance the strategic need to move things forward over the longer term with the plethora of more immediate demands for response or action. Singularity is hard in a world of distractions.
I’m a long-time advocate of challenger brand strategy. I’m of the view that if you can goad the incumbent into a fight and portray your brand as the much smaller player with principles, then it’s game-on. But what if you’re on the other side of the counter? If you’re a major brand and you’re being hounded by a challenger, how can you respond without drawing flak or encouraging buyers to support the underdog-that-dared?