What does it take to set your Challenger Brand up for success?
In 2024, that’s a question with countless variables and answers, defined as much by why you’re doing business as much as how. In order to set the record straight we spoke with 5&Vine founder and CMO Rahul Raj. You can read what he had to say below.
What makes a brand a Challenger Brand?
Rather than being defined by size or the industry it’s in, a Challenger is defined by its aim to upend the status quo. In 2024, when consumers want their brands to echo their values and ethics, that’s never been more important.
A Challenger in 2024 is brave. It speaks out against prejudice, takes actions against wrongs and actively uses business to resolve them. Challengers believe that business can and must be a force for good, and have a responsibility to see that through not just for shareholders, but customers, employees, communities and the environment.
What are some standout Challengers you’ve worked with to date?
At 5&Vine, we’ve had the privilege of working with a real range of Challengers across fintech, food and wellness, SaaS, healthcare ecommerce and more, each looking to disrupt their respective landscape.
We’ve helped brands like Haute Hijab in launching a powerful and empowering campaign that looks prejudice in the face while breaking record sales, and brands like Greenlight, which empowers parents to raise financially smart and literate kids.
We’ve also worked with subscription service Fresh N’ Lean in empowering communities and delivering organic meals, and Stok in rebranding and relaunching their mission to reimagine the built environment.
Do you have a standout Challenger Brand example?
One of the best and most iconic Challenger Brands is Airbnb. My affinity towards the brand stems from its drive to forge connections when we travel, to deepen our understanding of others and build community.
There are few things more sacred than the privacy of our homes. They often reveal who we really are, from our strengths to our struggles. Inviting guests into our space is something typically reserved for those we are closest with. Airbnb has helped bridge that gap by helping prospective guests get to know prospective hosts, find commonalities and build trust. It’s allowed people to experience travel and new locations in a way that centralized and sanitized hotels can’t.
Airbnb has also challenged the notion that we must build new structures in city centers to house those visiting, when there are hundreds or thousands of underutilized rooms or houses that can provide the desired shelter and comfort.
It’s taken the neglected art of hosting and brought it back into the spotlight, enabling individuals to show their care and attention to detail through guidebooks, warm greetings, welcome amenities and more.
In short, Airbnb has disrupted an industry that was growing complacent and accepted as the norm. It showed the power in mobilizing a community of independent hosts and their properties to help us connect with each other on a basic human level, and built an exceptionally strong business in the process.
How do you know if it’s time for a Challenger brand to engage with an agency like 5&Vine?
There are a number of signs to look out for that might indicate it’s time to engage with an agency like 5&Vine.
You’re running into roadblocks or barriers to growth. If your Challenger isn’t growing as quickly or in the direction you expected, an agency like 5&Vine can come in and determine why.
You need results, quick. Agencies like 5&Vine are quick hires that deliver immediate value, rather than having the high-risk and cost of hiring a CMO full-time.
You need a new perspective that truly understands Challengers. Whether it’s your brand’s position in the market, its go-to-market strategy or figuring out which influencers to leverage, it takes a Challenger to understand a Challenger.
What are some ways 5&Vine can propel a Challenger to the next level?
Led by a CMO with decades of experience and a team of experts when it comes to growth, paid acquisition, branding, social media, content and design, 5&Vine is a full marketing agency for Challenger Brands. We have all the tools to identify your unfair advantage and position it for a win.
In terms of specifics, we operate across a number of verticals, including strategy, go-to-market, growth and digital acquisition, social media, content and advocacy, branding, team building and mentorship. To date, our team has helped startups attain exits and scaleups drive user growth that’s generated over $1.2bn in follow-on financing. We’ve also led a number of successful rebrands, built scalable acquisition models, designed new websites, and developed new revenue streams.
What do you think is important for Challengers to remember for the remainder of 2024?
Being a Challenger is about mindset. It’s about identifying and examining the truths of your industry, its competitors, and looking at how you can do it better. Think about customer pain points and how you cannot just alleviate them but make their lives better.
Think about the production and supply chain of your product or service, and how you can deliver them in a way that’s better for both people and the planet.
It’s also important to accept that you will fail, because it’s inevitable. Being a Challenger, especially this year, is about embracing discomfort and using that to propel you forward. Let it guide you to ask the hard questions, and change the way we do something for good.