How Challenger Brands
Stand Out in the Health
and Pharma Space

Understanding the Challenge

Many pharma and medical device brands consider themselves “challengers,” aiming to outperform other players in the market with a new product, service or offering. And while these brands are certainly challenging their competition, they don’t necessarily earn the title “challenger brand.”

In fact, challenger brands have a different end-goal entirely. It’s not just about asking consumers to buy a different product. It’s not just about knocking out the competition. A challenger brand’s aim is to convince consumers to think differently about the problems and solutions in their industry.

While no two challenger brands are alike, there are common criteria that reflect the true nature of a challenger.

Up-and-Coming Market Position

A typical challenger brand isn’t a giant pharma company – but that doesn’t always mean it’s a startup. Rising challengers are often third or fourth in the marketplace and gaining momentum. Challenger brands can also be divisions of a larger established brand going after a new market.

Unique Approach

The brand has identified a unique approach to the market that disrupts the status quo. This could be a different product design, a different way of delivering technology or services, a new clinical approach, or even a different business model.

Differentiation Beyond Cost and Service

While cost and service could be part of the mix, they’re rarely seen as the primary differentiators of a challenger. What the brand does could lead to lower costs or better service, but it’s not necessarily the main attraction.

Interesting Marketplace Point of View

Beyond the offering itself, the company has a unique perspective in the market that it’s willing to share and defend.

Desire to Go Beyond Traditional Communications

Rather than simply mimic the “big guys” and ride on their coattails, these brands are interested in approaching communications from a different perspective. Whether that’s through unique channels, a hyper-targeted strategy, or a different marketplace voice, they think beyond the “tried-and-true” health care models.
Discover common communication obstacles challenger brands face and learn the best practices to overcome them. Download Padilla’s full guide “Understanding the Challenge.”

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