An awful lot has changed in the past few years. Legacy brands no longer have the advantages of scale they once enjoyed, today they are being undermined by younger, fast moving challenger brands.
Just take a look at the huge choice the consumer has across so many categories. More and more exciting, vibrant challenger brands are threatening those well established legacy brands, who once owned the brand space in the consumers conscience. Consumers attitudes have also changed, they want to discover and experiment. They want to feel like they are ahead of the game and not part of the pack. Social media has driven this to a greater extent. There is a lot less brand loyalty with consumers swapping and moving between brands, something that has greatly challenged the legacy brands.
Smaller challenger brands have all the right moves
Smaller challenger brands are also making themselves easier to buy, fitting in with the lifestyle and life of these new consumers. Familiarity used to be what consumers wanted. Not any more, far from it. Todays consumers don't want familiar, they don't want boring. Historically, legacy brands were reassurance that what the consumer was buying was the best etc. Today this matters a lot less.
Today, consumers now have different criteria when choosing what to buy:
- Transparency - Authenticity - Purposefulness For younger challenger brands these are all far more easier to achieve than a legacy brand. Young challenger brands can start from scratch and build these into their story. Legacy brands find this a lot harder to do.
Legacy brands and the fight to stay relevant
Legacy brands face an intrinsic problem, they pull in opposite directions. Their core comms and beliefs don't match with their activations, and the consumer can see through this and it can come across as a little disingenuous. Today, it's no longer about big budgets, and big campaigns. Legacy brands have done it this way because thats how they have always done it. It's how the structure of these big company organisations work. Deeply considered, process, extensively researched and all passed through layers of approval. Heavily focused on their own world, rather than that of the consumer. You can’t cut through the noise if it takes 12 months to get something produced. It's no longer about just telling the consumer something…. Brands need to focus on getting the consumer to do something.
A sense of fun goes a long way So what can legacy brands do to compete with challenger brands? First you need to create a brand that consumers find interesting, and rewarding to be part of. A brand that truly engages and keeps being unignorable through multi layered comms. A constant delivery of ideas that engages with the consumer. Spontaneity, fleet of foot, and risk taking. Not everything will work, but this will only built more trust with the consumer. Its shows a human side. To match the consumers want and need for discovery and experimentation brands no longer can act predictable. You can’t just keep doing the same old thing over and over again. Innovation, through comms and NPD. Bold moves, not being risk averse and of course have a sense of fun.
Focus smaller. Think wider than just a big budget TV, or a large UK wide out of home campaign. Think wider than social media and digital with no real core thought to the content. Just doing social for the sake of it is just a waste of valuable budget. Think smaller and smarter. Brand defining ideas are more relevant than ever, get the idea right and it should be able to work across any application from TV, Outdoor, Press through to Digital and Social. Creativity is more effective and more important than ever before. Yes, data, digital, social are all invaluable, but without a clear brand defining idea they will be no help in engaging with your audience and making your brand standout, whatever your budget.
It's time for legacy brands to think different Legacy brands need to act independently minded, act quick, take a risk, and do things differently. Look at bringing onboard the smaller independent challenger agency, give them a chance, they’ll think different, won’t be hindered by the restrictions of a legacy brand. You never know you might get some brand defining ideas that are unignorable and will help you stay relevant.
Fun have recent completed projects for start-up challenger brands, and also larger legacy brands. Get in touch if you have a project or problem that you think needs fresh creative solutions.