Established Booze Brands Need to ‘Challenge the Challengers’, Says Initials

Launching December 4, new research conducted by independent creative agency Initials has found alcoholic drinks consumers are switching to challenger brands in their droves, with over two thirds of respondents saying being exposed to a multitude of marketing messages was making them less loyal to established brands. The findings expose harsh truths established brands must tackle in the face of the challenger brand phenomenon.

Aiming to delve deeper into the dizzying climb of the challengers, the research surveyed over 1000 UK consumers, exploring how and why they are switching. Alongside alcohol, seven other FMCG categories were looked at, with the research covering everything from drivers at a category level to attitudes post purchase.

The first harsh truth is that challengers are impacting all categories. When it comes to alcoholic drinks 35% of respondents said they had switched from an established brand to a challenger. TV is viewed as the most effective channel for driving consideration of challenger brands, cited by 42% of respondents.

The switch to challengers is likely to be permanent. 43% of respondents in this category said they are still purchasing the challenger brand and intend to stay with it, 31% have already or are planning to try another challenger brand, while only 22% intend to switch back to their original product.

The research also found the more consumers are invested in their purchase, the more probable it is that they’ll find a reason to try a challenger – concerning for brands with higher consideration products. For alcoholic drinks purchases 40% of consumers said this.

When looking at the primary motivations for switching, the urge to try something different came out top in relation to higher consideration drinks purchasing, cited by 26%. When it comes to lower consideration choices the most popular answer was that the challenger brand was easier or faster to buy, chosen by 28%.

Jamie Matthews, CEO of Initials, comments: “These findings should act as a wakeup call to established alcohol brands. The rules of the game have changed and to compete effectively established brands need to adopt more of a challenger mindset. Doing that requires bravery, and a much greater appetite for risk, but in order to succeed they need to match challenger’s sense of ambition and conviction. There is a lot to be learned from how the challengers are doing things. There is an eagerness to experiment and self-treat in this category, and the new variants offered by challengers are meeting this desire. It’s clear from the results consumers believe challengers are doing more than established brands to incorporate relevant technology into their products and services, and the challenger mindset is achieving cut through, particularly in relation to brand personality.”

The findings feature in Initials whitepaper; Challenging the Challengers, designed to find out whether established brands need to start behaving differently.

Source: Initials

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