Understanding the Challenge
Many pharma and medical device brands consider themselves “challengers,” aiming to
players in the market with a new product, service or offering. And while these brands are
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
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
While no two challenger brands are alike, there are common criteria that reflect the true
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
startup. Rising challengers are often third or fourth in the marketplace and gaining
Challenger brands can also be divisions of a larger established brand going after a new
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
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
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.