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Challenger brands

The term ‘challenger brand’ was popularised by the author Adam Morgan, who argued that challenging market dominance works and small brands can topple big ones if they take a systematically different approach to strategy. Challenger brands are not just ‘runners up’ in a category; they are brands that deliberately and provocatively break category rules. They are defined by their state of mind, not their state of market.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

A guide to positioning your brand as a challenger - a state not necessarily conferred by not-market-leader status. The most successful challenger brands are ones that are able to bend the rules in their favour, creating new paths to success.
how Indian Motorcycle has driven progress in a category with distinct characteristics and unique forms of consumer behaviour.
Challenger brands don't need big budgets - a focus on craft and detail, and an understanding of neuroscience, can create profitable niche markets.
How brands like T-Mobile, Airbnb, Warby Parker and Dove take on their category leaders.
Adam Morgan - whose 1999 classic, Eating the Big Fish, introduced the world to challenger brand theory - followed up 10 years later with five valuable strategies for the next wave of contenders.

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