It is the stuff of myths and legends, David vs. Goliath, Frodo Baggins vs. Sauron, Leicester City vs. the cream of the Premier League.
But, the underdog story also has a reality within the world of Consumer Goods – the little guy out flanking the big, possibly un-noticed until the last moment, bringing with it that element of surprise that bowls over competitors and consumers alike.
It is Ugly vs. Coca-Cola.
It is Jeep vs. GM.
It is Harry’s vs. Gillette.
It is Tony’s Chocolonely vs. Cadbury.
It is the multitude of plant-based protein brands tackling the meat industry head on.
And, one day soon, Always may see their market share attacked from the wings (excuse the pun) with the likes of eco-friendly alternatives such as Ohne, DAME or Freda.
So, what can we learn from these conquering David’s in terms of brand strategy?
1. Stand for something and stand out. Be bold and bring personality and clear, recognisable values. Often this is what your big competitors, who rely on reputation, aren’t doing.
2. Start in a niche and go for trial. Find out what your target consumer needs/wants, that isn’t being met by the big dogs. Seize it and go for it. If it doesn’t work, try the next. Learning fast is key and agility is your key strength.
3. Build from your niche out, in ever increasing circles. Start small and build big, fleshing out your brand as you go. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither can your brand be.
4. Get talked about, even if it means courting controversy. Pull stunts, point fingers, revel in your big competitor’s dirty laundry, get your ad banned for being too woke (shout out to Iceland’s 2018 Christmas advert). Don’t be afraid to stand on toes and put a few noses out.
5. Deliver well and add a surprise. When a consumer comes across your brand or product for the first time, they should feel like they are discovering something exciting that they want to share with their friends and family. There is no marketing technique more powerful than direct consumer endorsement.
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