There are many brands in Africa that are not the market leaders nor necessarily own a niche but are well known because of their values and mission to change the status quo in their markets. Such brands are known as challenger brands. Challengers usually have ambitions bigger than their conventional resources and are prepared to do something bold to force reforms to a category or market.
Challengers challenge something, but it’s not always the market leader.
To clearly understand their categorization and along with their efforts, we will explore ten types with local relatable examples. Hopefully, by the end of this, you’ll find where your brands fit and run with the new understanding of your purpose.
1. People’s Champion
The people’s champion makes a strong claim of standing up for the consumer who has been otherwise mistreated. This status is not easily attainable as it has to be earned. The brand must be seen as one that can be counted on at all times and especially when the rather leading brand is not coming through as expected.
An example is EiE Nigeria. They have a mission to ensure that young Nigerians are able to stand for themselves and resist oppression from their government. They have led a number of protests which have yielded results.
2. The Game Changer
This type sets out to change the narrative of the industry their brand belongs to. They create a dynamic change in how the product or service is presented and engaged with. They come with a fresh perspective.
Koko fuel in Kenya is the best example for this challenger type. They are a biofuel company with a difference; their aim is to refresh the way people cook. Instead of the dirt of using a kerosene stove, they are enabling their constituents to use affordable, clean and easy biofuel.
3. The Fiery Underdog
This group challenges the dominance of the market leader as well as the preference of the consumer for the market leader. In Ghana, there are leading brands in the juice business. However, Kalyppo, which is actually targeted at children, has some popularity with adults, even the current president, has been seen enjoying Kalyppo. They are a fierce competition to larger brands and are in a close call for dominance.
4. The Visionary
The visionary challenges the mundane perspective of the category and introduces a higher vision for the future that he will see through to becoming a reality. Blue Skies is a fruit juice company that is committed to a vision of processing fruits with a real desire to protect the environment. Their juices are sourced right from the farm and bottled whilst still fresh as opposed to the regular juices doped out on preservatives made by other brands in the category.
5. The Enlightened Zagger
This brand type does not follow the norm in society just because everyone is following it. The buy into or push an idea solely because they have informed personal beliefs for why something should be the way it is. They can be described as challengers of conventional ways.
Savannah Cider in South Africa is doing this brilliantly! Though an alcoholic beverage company, they do not follow the norm of selling themselves with ads that contain people in a bar, with loud noise amongst others. They have “out of the ordinary” content like a Virtual Comedy Bar and an Influencer Institute and other content that grabs you by the neck.
6. The Real and Human Challenger
This type appeals to the market on a personal level and is very relatable. They give a sense of humanness rather than the robotic feel of the category. They are challengers of the facelessness of the brand.
On the Decathlon Ghana website, in making a purchase, there’s a pop up that allows you to interact with someone who can help you in making a choice on what you want to purchase. It gives the feeling of being in a shop and having an attendant help you.
7. The Democratizer
This challenger type challenges the privileged and elite. They believe in opening up from a narrow point and spreading into a larger space for the benefit of all.
Tecno Mobile is a brand that makes available its products at an affordable price with the same features on mobiles targeted at the elite in society. Though an official partner of Manchester City Football Club, they are still accessible to everywhere.
8. The Missionary
The missionary is dedicated to setting things right. They want to make sure they can make the world a beautiful and better place by doing something prominent that stems from their love of the brand and category. They operate with a transparent sense of purpose and seek to challenge the already existing beliefs of the category.
The best example of this is BudgIT in Nigeria; wherein their pursuit of transparency as regards public finance, they simplify the Nigerian budget and ensure easy accessibility to it. They break down the fiscal complexities and ensure that governance is participatory.
9. The Next Generation
The Next Generation challenger challenges the appropriateness of the market leader. They hold the belief that a new era requires a new way of doing things as the world advances.
Paystack is an example of the next generation challenger brand. They are committed to helping businesses in Africa find solutions to their payment problems so they can compete with international brands. They are the future African businesses have been waiting for.
10. The Irreverent Maverick
This type challenges the narrow-mindedness of the status quo of their category and those who keep to it. It provokes with the intent to create controversy.
Challenger brands are so mostly because of indignation with the status quo rather than enmity with the competition. It’s an urge to bring progress to a category in some way for the customer.
What type of challenger brand do you think you are?
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