For every company, and for challenger brands in particular, retrospective regret is part of the journey. Looking back, it’s often easy to identify missed opportunities and instances when a zig rather than a zag made a significant difference either for you—or your competitors.
For challenger brands, competing with the category leaders requires constant evaluation, steady improvement and taking an honest look at how you competed in the past to learn from that performance and move forward. That discipline has never been more important than it is right now.
With California and New York City open, and every other state following suit, America is set to embrace its new normal. From preliminary analysis, we’re coming out of the pandemic a lot better than how we went in. Consider this information from a June 2nd article in The Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. economic recovery is unlike any in recent history, powered by consumers with trillions in extra savings, businesses eager to hire, and enormous policy support. Businesses and workers are poised to emerge from the downturn with far less permanent damage than occurred after recent recessions, particularly the 2007-09 downturn.
New businesses are popping up at the fastest pace on record. The rate at which workers quit their jobs—a proxy for confidence in the labor market—matches the highest going back at least to 2000. American household debt-service burdens, as a share of after-tax income, are near their lowest levels since 1980, when records began. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up nearly 18% from its pre-pandemic peak in February 2020. Home prices nationwide are nearly 14% higher since that time.
America is teed up for an economic boom and that’s great news for challenger brands when you consider this — at no time in history have underdog brands been on as level a playing field with big brands as they are right now. As the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency, we find that incredibly exciting.
When COVID-19 shut down the world, it shut down everything. And while big brands may have had an advantage going into the shutdown, coming out of it, that advantage won’t be the same. Consumer behavior has changed. Consumer brand preferences have changed. Consumer life orbits—where they live, where they work, what they do—have all changed and those changes have cracked the door for the brands hungry and brave enough to kick it open.
Consumers are dying to get out, travel and try new things. Most immediately, we’re all ready to eat out in restaurants and enjoy new experiences. From cafes and coffee shops to QSR and casual dining, if you are a challenger brand in the restaurant category, now is the time to connect with new customers.
Tease them with innovative new menus. Entice them with a renewed commitment to memorable service. Deliver an atmosphere that’s more experience than location. Then give your patrons some manifestation of loyalty that tells them how much they are appreciated.
As restaurant marketing experts in QSR, fine dining, casual dining, fast casual, pizza, coffee, and more, these are the moments we live for. We’re constantly analyzing new strategies, innovative media planning, and attention-grabbing creative for every type of restaurant experience.