Blog: Scott Trudeau

In today's interactive web world, businesses in the Great Lakes region need to be more than just a flash in the big 'ole pond. Avid windsurfer Scott Trudeau, president of Daggerfin, a growing creative services agency, will dish on marketing and branding for the little guy and how we can attract more creative types to the area.

Scott Trudeau - Post 1: It's Good To Be a Challenger

I love challenger brands. The underdog. The organization with limited resources.

They have something the top dog once had but may no longer be in touch with: passion, desire and that gut feeling that they're about to do and be a part of something bigger and better (even if currently nobody can see that but themselves). They have a vision and so does their leadership team. I'll take a challenger brand with a vision and a burning desire to make a dent in their market any day over a conservative, "me too" brand with double the marketing budget. Why? Because it's from this challenger perspective that real ideas are born and growth happens.

Thinking outside the box is critical for survival in poor economic times and it's within this "challenger mindset" that organizations have the opportunity to separate themselves from the pack.

Stand for something. Be disruptive.

My agency's main objective is to help our clients find their voice and differentiate them in a crowded marketplace full of clones offering the same thing for the same price. The best way to gain attention is to be different. If you're not different, you blend in. If you blend in, you can't grow your business. Many once-successful organizations lose market share and fanfare by becoming stale and irrelevant.

The same principles apply to your own brand, be it yourself, your business, service or product. Challengers can grow when they discover what makes them different and then embrace that difference. Own that difference and use it to disrupt your playing field.
Change the conversation.

For a challenger brand to compete with competitors several times its own size, it is futile to take a "me too" approach. So if you can't outspend them in marketing, how can you be heard? You must change the conversation you're having with your audience. Redefine how you approach your audience. Say something that is different, honest and compelling. Do not try to mirror your competitors, stand proudly in contrast to them.

Define yourself.

It's far easier to change the conversation you're having with your audience if your brand is clearly defined. Specialization is far more attractive than generalization. Specialization allows you to find your voice, stand out and charge a premium. Generalization puts you in the same pool with everyone else and eventually your offering becomes a commodity. You can't be all things to all people and why would you want to be?

Tell a good story.

Minds start to wander and eyes glaze over when people are presented with yet another case study. On the other hand, people love to hear a good story. If you're in a service based business, case studies may be important to validate your expertise. Wrap your case study in a story that is compelling and relevant to your audience. Find a way to tell your story in a way that directly relates to your potential client’s "mission critical" needs. You'll hold their attention and you'll be sharing ideas with them instead of talking at them. A story is easier to remember and much easier to retell. It's more likely that your organization's story may be retold to someone else and generate a referral.