Challenger Consultancy

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We take a strategic approach, utilising facilitated workshop-based programmes developed from our understanding of how Challenger Brands succeed.

Every project is designed for the individual businesses needs – from a one day ideation workshop to a multi-stage programme over several months.

Consultancy: The Challenger Identity Programme

Positioning & Strategy


The programme we are best known for, based on the strategic idea Challenger Brand identity as outlined in Eating The Big Fish, this multi-stage workshop programme is genuinely cross-functional in nature and results in a distinctive positioning and vision for your business.

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What is a Challenger Identity?

For a Challenger, the greatest danger is not rejection, it is indifference.

Challenger Brands project what they believe like a lighthouse, so you notice them, even if you are not looking for them.

• A brand with a strong belief system

• Anchored on a product rock or compelling truth about their offer

• Who invite consumers to navigate by them

• Projecting that identity insistently and consistently in everything they do

How does it work?

• The Challenger Identity process is an intense facilitated process run over a 12-16 week timeframe with a cross functional team (including agency partners)

• With strategy and execution running together the deliverables for the process are both tangible – a 3-5 year vision and illustrative executional ideas to accompany it, and intangible – ownership and alignment across a team through co-creation.

“The process with eatbigfish was truly exceptional. It was the most complete and exhaustive — and at times exhausting — process I’ve ever experienced. eatbigfish helped us review and interrogate all aspects of the brand and business in order to develop a compelling vision, identity and strategy for an iconic brand, and the results speak for themselves — we reversed a 3-year decline, and restored the brand to double-digit growth in just 18 months. It is remarkable to experience how you can bring such a diverse group of people from across an organization and use their different expertise and perspectives to help create a common and compelling vision and plan for the business. Your process and perspective is truly unique and special – I don’t know of anyone else out there who has the ability to do what you do.”

Drew Munro, (former) CEO of Molson-Modelo Inc.

“eatbigfish helped us think outside of our typical comfort level in establishing our Challenger Identity…and showing us the importance of defining who we are and not allowing others to define us (e.g. projecting vs. mirroring). Finally the team at eatbigfish kept us in check. During the workshops we’d be pretty good about thinking and acting differently, but once we went back to Kraft, we would occasionally slip right back into our old habits, keeping us in that challenger mind set really helped us obtain buy-in for our new identity.”

Anthony Trani, Senior Brand Manager, Kraft Foods

Want to find out more?  Email us with more information about your requirements.

Consultancy: Challenger Training & Capabilities



How do you bring the Challenger mindset to your business at large and give your team the tools to be Challengers? How do you seek to embed this approach in your team? How can you transcend geographies and cascade the learning?

We have developed training and coaching for some of the world’s largest companies. The nature of the session always comes from our Challenger perspective but it is designed according to your specific needs.

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How does it work?

• A speech to kick off the subject and inspire the team (either in person or virtually)

• Facilitated ‘train the trainer’ workshop sessions

• DIY workshop kits to run sessions with your own teams back in the office

• Inspiration modules (curated online content) and group step by step exercises

• Work through the theory and apply Challenger Thinking on your own brands or business issue to embed the learning.

“We organised a five day training course with eatbigfish to help take our Cadbury chocolate innovation department to the next level of performance. The multi cultural innovation team were highly energised by the course, describing it as ‘outstanding’ and ‘game changing’. We have already seen an impact on the output of the team and the overall department spirit as a result of the course”

Sarah Barron, Cadbury

Want to find out more? Email us with more information about your requirements.

Consultancy: Hidden Potential



Often, internal beliefs and processes are intended to act like a speedboat but end up being nothing more than a life raft. We want to find a new path to follow. Not the one that we find safe and comfortable, but one that really challenges. If we were to disrupt our paths and process, which questions would we want to ask and how would they help?

This workshop is designed to help your business to break from the path that you have set yourselves to achieve step change growth, to be the catalyst that will give you the confidence to venture into the unknown and find unexploited growth opportunities for your business.

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How does it work?

• Hidden Potential is a multi workshop process delivered over a 12/16 week period with a senior management team

• We undertake a Path Dependency Analysis of the organisation to unearth evidence of the instinctive bias of the organisation and generate vital proof of how hard it may be to instil change

• Through a workshop process we help the team break with their immediate past and apply the principles of Intelligent Naivety to generate and explore new growth opportunities

“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind , but how to get the old ones out. Every mind is a room packed with archaic furniture. You must get rid of the old furniture of what you know, think, and believe before anything new can get in.”

Dee Hock, Founder of Visa

Want to find out more? Email us with more information about your requirements.

Consultancy: Category Visioning



Looking for new growth in a category?

Trying to create distinct offers for individual brands in a portfolio?

Constrained by the traditional view of your market?

Using a series of exercises drawn from our Outlooking and Pulsing sessions, all designed to encourage new insight, our Category Visioning workshop paints a much broader canvas of opportunity for a Challenger Brand.

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How does it work?

• A two-day workshop with a cross functional team, agency partners and intelligently naïve participants

• Mapping the current landscape of the category, and apply Challenger Thinking through a series of exercises to identify areas of white space and opportunity including:

• Pulsing – Brands often recognise the importance of brand experience but find it hard to break away from the category norms to build a rich and differentiated offering. Successful Challenger brands make a deliberate decision about what experience their brand will offer. The Pulsing exercises use a new model through which to see the experience business, helping Challengers reframe the playing field to their own advantage.

• Outlooking & Inlooking enable a group to see what might be possible for their brand when they view things through a completely different lens. It is designed to help brands draw inspiration from beyond their brand category and consumer to uncover new opportunities.

“The eatbigfish team brought the right mix of energy, creativity, organization and process, fun, imagination, brand experience, and street smarts to our project, which helped us deeply examine how our new product can stand out in a crowded, competitive category and marketplace… the eatbigfish team will push you to get beyond your comfort zone by using a variety of exercises, getting you to own the process and outcomes and pushing you to adopt a challenger brand approach/mentality.”

Jim Hield, VP Corporate Branding, Cargill

Want to find out more? Email us with more information about your requirements.



Consultancy: Pirate School



Large Marketing Organizations (“The Navy”) have a set of practices and procedures for developing their plans both explicit (strat plan/brand plan/research methods ) and implicit (the kinds of behavior we value).

More entrepreneurial ventures (“Pirates”) value very different things and have quite different processes.

To be Constructive or Necessary Pirates within The Navy requires a team to encode a new set of practices we call The Articles.

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How does it work?

• A 1-2 day event to launch a shift in mindset and method

• Where the elements of a Challenger Culture are introduced and compared to our own more ‘Navy-style’ culture

• Includes the opportunity to reenact of a famous Pirate Battle as a fun, interactive way to dramatise Challenger behavior and attitudes to risk

• As a team we write our own set of Articles – our culture code – to define explicitly what kinds of behavior we need to value to have more market impact

“Our three day programme focuses very strongly on what our brand teams need to do in order to develop and get agreement for their brand plans; the Pirate Battle session is an excellent element which focuses on how they do it. It is particularly relevant to our participants who operate in a highly complex, bureaucratic environment”

Irene Donaldson, Nestle

Want to find out more? Email us with more information about your requirements.


Consultancy: Writing Your Challenger Narrative

Positioning & Strategy


The challenger’s strategic canvas permits a much wider choice of potential narratives than the story of ‘irreverent little player vs. monolithic and unscrupulous bigger player’, which is what the cliché seems to be.

Marketers and agencies need to understand a broader challenger canvas, based on a deeper insight into the different kinds of challenger narratives that are currently succeeding across the globe.

This new workshop helps you explore the range of Challenger Narratives your brand can tell, and maps out the implications for your strategy.

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How does it work?

• A two workshop process over a 6 week period with a cross functional team

• Understand the new model for Challenger brands through application

• Identify the dominant narrative within your category

• Explore a number of different narratives for your own brand, revealing areas of opportunity

• Cement and build upon your positioning by playing out the implications for every aspect of the marketing mix

“As a challenger brand ourselves, we have long been a fan of the work done in this area by Adam Morgan and eatbigfish. It’s great to be partnering on the launch of ”Overthrow, 10 Ways to Tell a Challenger Story”, which offers marketers the chance to explore a new model. I’d say that PHD is a Visionary with a splash of Real & Human Challenger”.

Mike Cooper CEO PHD Worldwide

Want to find out more? Email us with more information about your requirements.



Case Studies

Our clients are brands and businesses who want to think and behave like Challengers, no matter what size their business or position in the category. We’ve recently worked with BBC Worldwide, BT, Charles Schwab, Clif Bar, Greenpeace, PlayStation, SAB Miller, UKTV, Unilever and Visa to name but a few.

Hear from some of the people we work with, and read about some of our projects in more detail, below:

Case Studies: Some recent clients on working with eatbigfish…

Case Studies: Visa – The Challenger Brand?

visa - the challenger brand

Visa is not what any of us would think of as a Challenger Brand. And yet the principles behind the Challenger Identity model so resonated with Antonio Lucio when he worked with us at PepsiCo that he applied them to the Visa Brand when he arrived there almost 5 years ago.

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The Challenge:

Having built a Challenger Identity around a combination of core truths of the founder, Dee Hock, and the needs of the modern marketplace, the challenge was not simply how to implement this across numerous regions, but how to create ownership of the strategy by local teams and the deep understanding of how to make the brand drive business success. Antonio needed enthusiastic adoption, not simply compliance.

The Process:

Initially we designed a 2-day session to allow the global team at Visa to understand why Visa needed to think and act more like a Challenger, why a Challenger Identity was needed, and how it could be applied in specific use cases across geographies and product types. The sessions went deep into practical application using tools and templates that could be applied in a number of cases. After prototyping the exercise in Foster City, CA, eatbigfish went to three other geographies around the world to implement the sessions. Later we designed a web-based version of the sessions for use by new employees and employees beyond marketing.


Visa has achieved the kind of rigor and consistency in its branding that few companies can claim and the business results have been strong. As the marketplace has evolved in the last 5 years we are looking to replicate this process around an evolved Visa identity. Watch this space.

I don’t think that any company in the world can afford not to play by the rules of the Challenger.  If you don’t think that you’re a Challenger, you just need to redefine your market whether you’re a market leader or not. […]

It is critically important to think of yourself as a Challenger – to pursue very specific goals with that passion so that you can actually become the most vibrant and creative brand that you can become.  That requires, I think, the level of discipline and process that the Challenger brand approach can create for our organisation.

Antonio Lucio, ‎Global Chief Brand Officer

Case Studies: Lark – Working with a Startup to Wake-up the Category


Lark was a Silicon Valley start-up working on start-up funding. It’s a gadget that tracks your sleep patterns and habits, and wakes you through vibration. eatbigfish were asked to help develop a Challenger story and marketing ideas that could help Lark punch above its weight and create fame, particularly at its unveiling at Tech Crunch in 2011.

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The Challenge:

Lark was a gadget that would be launched amid a sea of ultra cool tech gadgets with a product that addressed sleepy old sleep. The challenge was two-fold: How to breakthrough in a 15 minute stage presentation; and, more importantly, how to present sleep as something worthy of maintaining the world’s attention after the initial spike in interest.

The Process:

eatbigfish brought all the small Lark team together to develop the larger Challenger Strategy for the brand, and with some help from the MBA Program at Stanford, met on a weekly basis to roll up sleeves to do market research, devise launch stunts, concept demo films, even write pack copy. It was all hands on deck.

The Breakthrough:

Together we reframed Lark as much more than a silent alarm clock, but as a powerful secret weapon to improving performance and overall quality of life; an idea easily as powerful as nutrition and exercise and a must-have for everyone from the top performing tech exec to the uber-efficient working mom. We presented Lark as The Visionary Challenger, a brand with a whole new way of thinking about and evaluating that mysterious part of your life when you are asleep.

The Results:

  • While all other MBAs launched their start-up with PowerPoint, we had Julia smash an alarm clock with a sledgehammer generating headlines across the blogosphere
  • Apple took on Lark in a regional test and after success as now rolled out the product into all its Apple stores internationally.
  • Founder Julia Hu has been voted Young Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Marie Claire
  • The product has received an endorsement from the National Sleep Foundation
  • Fast Company have named them one of the Top Ten Most Innovative Companies in the World in consumer electronics.

It was so important to get the team bought in, to get the sleep experts really bought in to the dream. And that dream was values-driven and it was about something everyone could relate to.  So there were these great moments of ‘a-ha!’ and team collaboration and just excitement that we were all pushing for a greater purpose in life.  So that’s what really helped us come out with our product in less than a year, which launched internationally with Apple into every single store.  I think every part of that experience was linked to those initial ideation moments with eatbigfish.

Julia Hu, Founder – Lark

Case Studies: Walkers – Making Walkers Irresistible Again


Walkers was looking for a way to chart a new path to success, build confidence within the brand team, and identify new behaviours that could lead it to renewed growth.

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The Challenge:

In the 10 years before 2008 the Walkers brand had become the UK’s favourite crisp and in so doing one of the country’s largest and most powerful brands. But in 2005 it was confronted by negative headlines related to obesity that made the brand the poster-boy for unhealthy living. The model that had driven Walkers’ commercial success began to unravel and confidence in the brand slipped. Walkers began a significant overhaul of their ingredients, their sourcing and quality controls and in so doing, at a purely rational level, addressed many of the issues that it had been criticised for. But the Walkers team had lost a huge amount of confidence, and the brand had lost its lustre. It was fast losing its place as the nation’s favourite brand.

Walkers was looking for a way to chart a new path to success, build confidence within the brand team, and identify new behaviours that could lead it to renewed growth.

The Process:

At the start of 2008, Walkers embarked on the full Challenger Lighthouse Identity process, bringing together people both internally and across all their agencies in order to collaborate on a future path for growth. Recognising that strategies and ideas inform each other, the process considers the two strands in parallel so that the team is able to return to the organisation with tangible ideas to execute.

The Breakthrough:

Perhaps unsurprisingly Walkers time in the glare of the health and wellness spotlight had made them turn away from the real reason people buy Walkers crisps – namely the fact that they are simply irresistible. They had been in denial of this truth for nearly three years. Through this process we were able to start again and rekindle belief in the product and the team so that they felt comfortable talking up this truth again. They needed an objective third party to help them see this.

As important as the message was a realisation that they had become predictable in the way that they marketed Walkers – over-reliant on TV and a marketing model from the early 90s. The tactics needed a radical overhaul. After much soul searching they recommitted to their relationship with Gary Lineker, but used him in many different ways and diverse media. The campaign that best illustrated the convergence of all this thinking was the Do Us a Flavour Campaign.

The Results:

Do Us a Flavour was an enormous success for Walkers, both in terms of what was delivered through the business, but also in the belief it generated. Do Us a Flavour captured the nation’s imagination and got them talking about Walkers again.

Sales up by 12%. 1.5 million entries. £6.5m of free PR. Penetration up. Quality scores up. Collaboration and engagement around the process also boosted internal belief, and helped the team see that they can influence the way the company works.

Today, Walkers is still doing fantastically. Walkers Crinkles was launched in 2011, and became the number one food & drink launch in that year and is already projected to be a £50m business.

Today, Walkers is still doing fantastically. Walkers Crinkles was launched in 2011, and became the number one food & drink launch in that year and is already projected to be a £50m business.

One of the big strengths of the eatbigfish process is the fact that it’s highly collaborative, so you really can engage multiple people, both across the agencies, and internally. When you need to get a lot of people engaged behind a future path of growth… getting different people internally, from different functions and agencies all together in a collaborative process really helped with that.

The second thing that really helped was the belief that strategies and ideas can run in parallel, and actually, you need them together, because they inform each other. And I found that incredibly valuable, because it meant that we could shape the output, and make sure that what we were creating was really workable.

Miranda Samples, Former Marketing Director – Walkers

Case Studies: Audi – Launching The Challenge to Old Luxury


Audi is a Challenger in the US and became very interested in the work of eatbigfish when Adam addressed their National Sales event in 2008.

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The Challenge:

The Audi A8 was due to launch in the US with an audacious goal to double previous sales in the most prestigious segment of the auto industry. If Audi was going to become a true contender in the D Segment it had to break into ‘The Rule of 3’, something no brand had managed to do since Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Lexus established their dominance. This launch would have to approached as no other before it in the history of Audi of America.

The Process:

In 2009, Audi brought in eatbigfish to help apply Challenger principles to every single touch-point of the sales and service experience. Working with a cross functional team from sales, service, forecasting, design, training, and marketing, Audi redefined the entire prospecting, sales and service experience, setting a new standard that would deposition the Old Luxury marques around them.

The Breakthrough:Working together in this way for the first time, the Herndon team built real confidence in their ability to compete with the big three. Along with a more direct attack on its rival Mercedes-Benz, unheard of in the Luxury category, the team created eight signature moments of the A8 experience and rolled them out to Audi Flagship dealers across the country. The world was left with no doubt that the A8 meant business.

The Results:

  • Doubled share of luxury segment
  • Triple digit increase in purchase intent
  • Increased av transaction price per vehicle over previous years

The most impact eatbigfish had [at Audi] is with the workshops. In some environments when you have extremely senior executives, when you have dealers, it’s very difficult for someone within the machine, to either criticise, offer suggestions, offer different point of views, it’s so much more impactful when it comes from a third party.

And when it’s a third party with a degree of credibility it has even more impact, and to me that’s been the biggest asset in terms of keeping our challenger strategy moving forward.

Scott Keogh, CEO – Audi of America