What to do when you win?
Lobber Levin, senior strategic writer at Scandinavian consumer brand agency Everland, explains the power of being a rebel brand and the pitfalls to avoid once you succeed in your mission.
Are you a rebel brand? Do you want to fight for change, inclusion, and the greater good? As a startup, it’s often the perfect role to take on, tackling taboos or bringing new ideas to the table.
Positioning yourself as a rebel helps you define your message and target audience. It gets easier to stir emotions, gather people around your cause, and engage them when you have a shared “enemy” or mission. It’s effective branding and works well for community-building as it creates unison and common ground.
Now, you’re gaining momentum. People gather around your message, and you’ve built a loyal following. Then one of two things happen: either a larger corporation swoops in and overtakes the market, or you succeed in your mission?
If you succeed with your cause, now what? You’ve gone from challenger brand to market leader. It’s a problem many rebel brands face. Building your business and brand around a niche problem might be a great beginning, but it’s a short-sighted solution.
A rebel without a cause
Before you succeed in your rebellious mission, you need to revisit your brand purpose. You need to see yourself as a market developer instead of a challenger. What is your long-term reason to exist? This requires a deeper understanding of your brand context and business endeavours.
Your brand constantly interacts and is affected by culture, consumers, category and even your own company as it inevitably evolves. As your context changes, your brand needs to respond to thrive or even stay alive. Unfortunately, many brands forget to keep the finger on the pulse once they’ve found their place in a culture and category. They are too slow to revisit their relevance after three-five-10 years.
Ironically, the attitude that made them popular is now the same that inhibits further growth. The times are a-changing, and they are changing faster than ever! The Kodaks of our time will be many and much more frequent as technology, scarcity, and the attitude towards sustainability is accelerating. My advice is to stay in touch with your context while staying true to your brand essence. So, keep your rebel spirit, and rage against the status quo!