The Dramatic Disruptor has a product or service offer significantly superior to the incumbent. It focuses on visually dramatising their offer, often compared to the competition, and leaning into that drama to change the category’s criteria for choice in its favour. Once changed, this challenger must continue its pace of change, before the competition catches up.
The Enlightened Zagger deliberately swims against a prevailing cultural or category tide. It holds up an attitude or behaviour the rest of the world seems to accept, and provokes us to see it as the BS it really is. The opportunity for the Enlightened Zagger here is not just to embrace the opposite, but to create an alternative aspirational movement of its own.
The Feisty Underdog presents itself as locked in a binary battle we can all recognise: ‘small vs. big’, ‘good vs. evil’, ‘us vs. them’. Belief, chutzpah and resilience are everything, as is the absolute authenticity of this challenger’s position as David, sticking it to Goliath.
The Next Generation challenger questions the appropriateness of the market leader – or even the whole category – for the times we live in today. It can elegantly position the incumbent as perfect for a time gone by, but new times call for new brands and services. The world’s changing – let’s move on, people.
The Real & Human challenges the impersonality and faceless service of the market leader, and the dehumanising industrialisation of the category, appealing to us on a more personal and emotional level. We are invited to think of this less as a brand and more as a group of people, constantly pushing to bring us something better and more extraordinary.
The Irreverent Maverick uses wit and humour to challenge complacency and apparent comfort found in the bland. This challenger narrative is one of provocation, a poke in the ribs; deliberately setting out to entertain and engage. Their currencies are salience, talkability, the media spotlight – and perhaps an amused gasp of disbelief.
The Democratiser brings ubiquitous access to the things that have previously only been available to an elite. It believes in taking not from the rich and giving to the poor, but taking from the few and giving to the many. The Democratiser challenges elitism and privilege and champions diversity and accessibility.
The Missionary exists primarily to change something in the world it sees as broken or unfair. This challenger has a single-minded focus and wears that strong sense of purpose on its sleeve. This purpose is not simply a marketing story, it is deeply rooted. The business is the mission, and the mission is the objective.
The Local Hero reflects the emotion and energy around a renewed appetite for localism and local character; it champions the importance of local needs, local culture and local people. This challenger does not just claim local provenance – it has a deep presence in (and understanding of) the community.
The People’s Champion is a brand with a mandate: it is standing up for a group of people short-served or exploited by the establishment for too long. However, this challenger is an agent of change, not just protest. It offers an alternative model for success, often creating ‘people-powered’ solutions with the community’s interests at heart.