The Challenger Brand Approach to Media
When it comes to advertising, brands often think bigger is better and that the most effective forms of advertising will come with the biggest price tag. But "challenger brands" prove that's not always the case.
Challenger brands — younger, ambitious brands that are attempting to disrupt established industries — usually run campaigns with limited funds (at least in their infancy), so they gravitate toward more efficient forms of media, like direct response TV ads. After all, the media rate doesn’t compromise the quality of media placement — it's how you deliver your message to your audience that matters the most.
Challenger brands challenge the status quo, and with the rise of technology, it's becoming easier for these brands to reach their audiences in new ways. E-commerce is growing at breakneck speed, making it easier than ever to set up shop, launch a website, and open the doors for business.
Take Dollar Shave Club, for instance. Founder Michael Dubin started the company in his garage, and the brand rose to fame after it created a massively viral video — which it later transformed into a 60-second TV spot. After it became a household name and disrupted the razor industry, the company was acquired by Unilever for a whopping $1 billion in 2016. Its smart use of TV advertising is what helped transform it into a powerhouse of a brand, and according to a Video Advertising Bureau report, increased investment in TV advertising correlates with increased customer engagement and revenue.
Marketers can learn a lot from the challenger brand mindset, including the fact that you don't need a big budget to make advertising work for you. These strategies can help you get the most out of your marketing dollars.
- Start with direct response media. Don’t get locked into upfront media buys that are expensive and not cancelable. Direct response media runs on the same station in the same dayparts, but it’s also priced at an affordable, ROI-friendly rate. And with the addition of a URL, you will qualify for DR rates.
- Leverage data. Take the time to understand your own first-party data. Figure out who your audience really is so you’re marketing to the right people (not the people you wish were your audience). Take advantage of as much data as you can to get a bigger picture of your audience and how you can most efficiently reach that group. It’ll keep you from marketing to those who will never buy from you in the first place.
- Become media agnostic.Your marketing campaign is like a stool. If one leg is weaker than the rest, even the lightest weight will cause it to topple over. All of your media channels should work together toward a common goal. TV campaigns are great at adding credibility and explaining your message to a broad audience, but they should drive social and digital traffic as well.
Your website, for instance, should align with what viewers saw in the TV ad so they can easily make a purchase. If done correctly, TV campaigns and digital campaigns should reinforce each other.
To get ahead in your industry, think like a challenger brand. Don't get stuck doing the same thing you've always done — the marketing landscape is in a constant state of change.
Branch out with your media mix. Direct response is a great way to use your media dollars more efficiently, but don't rely solely on this avenue either. It’s about adding a layer of responsive, trackable media to all the other forward-thinking approaches to getting your message out. With such a robust mix, you can help offset an entire media budget — and this is the challenger brand mindset that every company needs in order to stay ahead of the curve.
Stacy Durand has been the CEO of Media Design Group since its inception, and her passion for the job is fueled by her pure love of the media business. Her career has always been about facilitating business growth exponentially and maximizing the potential of any campaign that runs through her company.