Monday, March 09, 2009

12 characteristics of “challenger” brands and their marketers

Last week, I received an e-newsletter from the online news site, BioWorld. It featured an article by Kathleen Kite-Powell with insights for pharma brands from the Integrated Marketing Summit in Atlanta last November. Read this and more at

From the article in BioWorld, here are 12 attributes of Challenger Brands – along with the brand managers and agencies who market them:

1) Have ambition exceeding resources, a "fire in the belly."
2) Have willingness to sacrifice and focus; have the nerve to risk and stretch.
3) Ask, "Where can I start my grassroots movement?" Find out where exactly the market audience is that you want to grow.
4) Are willing to break from conventions of their category. To get ahead, you can't say similar things as others. If you do, you can sadly only turn up the volume.
5) Are ready to make new rules for the game.
6) Assume "thought leadership" for their category.
7) Are willing to create an emotional connection: Become emotionally connected with the customer, your company and what you are selling. Creatively.
8) Are willing to collect ideas that will engage the imagination and emotion of customers. All personnel can be involved, because ideas come from everywhere.
9) Are ready to create an unmistakable brand identity. If you can't outspend the competition, you have to outsmart them.
10) Plan ahead for integrated campaigns. Retrofitting integration never works as well as planning for it.
11) Will give digital a real seat at the table.
12) Most importantly, a challenger must be a media agnostic. Re-examine your media options at all times.

The need for Challenger Brands of biopharma drugs and other innovative biotech products has never been greater, even in this state of the economy. Sales may go down or remain flat for a while, but with careful attention to marketing, companies with good products should survive. Products in development with true merit also should survive, even if bought out.

Now is not the time to flinch. As I said recently on Fox Business News, some companies may be tempted to slow down marketing efforts due the current economy. But I advise the opposite: don’t hit the stop button -- hit the forward-fast button.

No comments: