Warc Briefing: Challenger Brands

Adam Morgan

Definition: A Challenger brand is a brand seeking to grow in the face of an established market leader and the status quo in its category. It can also be a brand in an emerging or nascent market aiming to expand by challenging a consumer mindset.

Quick facts

  • The concept was effectively introduced to marketers by the 1999 publication of Eating the Big Fish: How Challenger Brands compete against Market Leadersi.
  • A Google search for 'Challenger Brands' yields about 3 million hits.
  • In 2010, search engines (Bing), cleaning products (Method) and airports (London's Gatwick) all talked about themselves as Challenger brandsii.

History and future outlook

A Challenger brand is the product of a mindset, not a market position. Being second-tier is not the same as being a Challenger. Challengers also want to change the category's rules.