The makeup of a challenger brand marketing team (and the type of branding agency they should seek out)

BRIGADE BRIGADE, is an independent, woman-owned branding and design agency providing distinct creative solutions that re-energize tired brands and help savvy marketing teams take on the leaders in the category.

At BRIGADE, we spend a lot of time working with challenger brands, and have gotten a good look at what makes them tick and how they operate. From the cheap seats, their marketing teams look a lot like marketing teams anywhere (same roles, same titles, same end goal). However, look a little closer and you realize that the mindset of the people making up these teams is different. Marketing professionals working for challenger brands have a tendency to be (even more) competitive, goal oriented, driven, and most importantly, confident. They have to make difficult decisions, and in some cases, decisions that carry risk.

Additionally, these teams (traditionally) are managing a smaller budget than a market leader. They have to do more with less. They need to be creative and think outside of the box to get successfully from point A to point B. And because of these things, they work best with a branding agency that does the following:

  • They have a challenger mindset. 
    A challenger brand needs a branding agency that’s nimble, pivots quickly based on ongoing learnings, approaches projects creatively so that money can go further, and offers creative solutions to challenges (cookie-cutter won’t do).
  • They prioritize consistency. 
    Consistency builds muscle memory and stickiness, so any branding team working with a challenger brand needs to understand this. The ideal setup is a boutique agency with fewer than 25 people that will guarantee a consistent creative director and writer assigned to the work. Keeping the tone of voice and visual identity consistent is crucial. 
  • They sweat the details.
    Challenger brands have lean teams putting money into marketing buys and experiences rather than overhead. These small but mighty teams need a branding firm that helps with the lift. From ensuring that work is on-brand to sweating that brand assets are being used consistently to building the brand day to day. There’s a lot to do and keep track of, and every partner should be willing and able to contribute to the load.

Do you run a challenger brand? Are you on a marketing team at one? If so, we’d love to talk to you about how you can keep pushing the status quo with stand-out, detail-oriented, consistent creative at every touchpoint.


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