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Eating the big fish - Adam Morgan

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Eating the big fish - how challenger brands can compete against brand leaders
Adam Morgan
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
UK Publication Date

Years ago, Avis was a little fish in the car rental industry. Fearing the company would be swallowed up if they didn't "try harder," Avis boldly announced its #2 status to the world through advertising–and the rest is history. Why has this approach become a marketing legend? Because there are more people who can relate to being #2, 3, or even 4, than can claim they know what it's like to be the Big Fish.

There are plenty of little fish out there, circling in schools around the brand leaders they so desperately wish to surpass. Squeezed by new competition, a retreating consumer, and aggressive retailing practices, marketers of second– and third–rank brands are struggling to survive in a business environment where they have fewer resources and less control than ever before. But instead of watching–and copying–every move the Big Fish makes, these "Challenger" brands need their own set of marketing rules if they have any hopes of staying afloat and competing effectively against the leader.

Eating the Big Fish is the first book that sets out to define those rules. Adam Morgan offers an innovative mental and strategic framework for those who find themselves in this new, hostile middle ground, looking for aggressive growth against the market leader. Morgan, the Joint European Planning Director of TBWA (the international advertising agency behind the campaigns for such brands as Absolut vodka, Apple computers, and Sony Playstation), has examined in detail forty of the most successful Challenger brands of the last ten years–new or relaunched brands which have achieved rapid growth (and fame) with limited marketing resources. He outlines the reasons why Challengers must think differently in order to survive, offering hands–on advice, plentiful examples, and invaluable information to help a Challenger learn how to swim out of the shadow of the Big Fish.

At the heart of the book are the Eight Credos of Challenger Brands–Morgan's analysis of the common marketing strands that these Challengers seem to share, which range in scope from the need to project who you are and what you believe in (#2, Build a Lighthouse Identity) to insights about the organizational structure and focus in such companies and brands (#8, Become Idea–Centered, Rather Than Consumer–Centered). Morgan fully analyzes each Credo, discussing in detail the marketing strategy and behavior of the specific Challenger brands that have shaped the rules. He provides case studies that include both his agency's clients and other well–known brands, such as Lexus, Oakley, Fox TV, Energizer, Virgin Atlantic, Swatch, Nissan, and more. Morgan then draws the Credos together into a "Challenger Strategic Program" that can be applied to the reader's own market and brand challenge, offering a proposed outline for a two–day Off–Site Program that will attempt to kick–start the Challenger process for a core group within any marketing or management team. In addition, Morgan looks at the great Challengers of the last ten years who have gone on to become brand leaders, and shows how even the rules of brand leadership have changed–why staying #1 now means, in fact, thinking and behaving like a #2.

Anyone can follow a leader. It takes a smart company to go up against the Big Fish, and Morgan's innovative, strategic program will show even the littlest fish how to make a meal out of the competition.

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ADAM MORGAN is Joint European Planning Director of TBWA, one of the world's largest advertising agencies, whose clients include Absolut, Taco Bell, Nissan, Energizer, and Apple. Most recently, as Planning Director, North America for TBWA Chiat/Day, he has worked on the launch or relaunch of Challengers in markets as diverse as airlines (Virgin Atlantic) and video games (Sony Playstation), across the United States, Europe, and Latin America. Founder of the Challenger Project, a continually evolving worldwide study of Challenger brands (of which Eating the Big Fish is the first output), he has lectured on Challengers to audiences as diverse as American advertising directors, Portuguese business graduates, and the Global Marketing Conference in London.

: "Although out last year, Eating the Big Fish, is one of the most stimulating books on brands and has grown to become a must read." (Marketing Business – Year's Best Books, January 2001)

"...full of such useful ideas that a whole generation of marketing folk bang on about [it]"  ( Campaign , Friday 23rd November 2007)

"Always find your brands in the slipstream of the market leaders? Well this could be the book for you."
(The Drum, October 17th 2008)

Keyword Index
Advertising.|Brand name products - Management.|Product management.
Country of Publication
New York (State)
Number of Pages

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