How Challenger Brands Can Help FMCGs Get Their Mojo Back

Looking at what start-ups are doing to disrupt the incumbent brands in various markets is an interesting way for the big brands to see where their potential weaknesses are. Interestingly, the latest researchfrom creative agency isobel looked at this from both sides rather than just one.

What do established brands think of their offering and the strength of their brand and how does that compare to start-ups?

Although the results are not earth-shatteringly surprising, they do make for good reading. 

An interesting insight into the mindset of the established brand marketer is that only one in five have reported they have full faith in their product, compared to 100% of new start-ups. 

In fact, while all start-ups would naturally claim their product or service is the best in their category, only 70% of marketers in established brands feel the same way. 

The reason could be that the start-ups interviewed are keen to stress they are on a course of continual improvement, while large brands do not have the same capacity. 

Another interesting finding involves storytelling. A quarter of established brand marketers confess they don't know their brand story, and so one in three lament there is no consistency in how the brand story is explained to consumers.

This is a key flaw that start-up companies reveal they see as a huge advantage in differentiating their brands from established names that may focus less on consistently explaining what their product stands for and what that might mean to customers.

It's not surprising to hear, then, that among big brand marketers one in four admit their companies are not customer-centric and one in five say they don't respond to consumer needs.

Ultimately, the start-ups question highlights the fact that their commitment to being customer-centric, to improving a product or service on-the-fly, means they can take customers on a journey with them. More than one in four established brand marketers claim they are unable to do this.

So the differences are not huge -- typically one in three or one in four or five admit they are not hitting the spot, but that means the majority believe they are.

However, it does show where challenger brands believe the big guys have developed a soft underbelly that is ripe for attack. By constantly improving and telling their brand's story in a consistent way, start-ups are clearly picking the areas where they feel they can do much better than the established giants they are looking to topple. 

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