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Challenger Brands

Tom Beahon, co-founder of Castore, appeared on SportsPro Podcast. He eagerly described Castore as a Challenger Brand in the world of sportswear. Castore is an upstart sports apparel company that is out to compete with the likes of Adidas and Nike - and does it with an eye towards providing premium sportswear solutions in a crowded market of behemoth names.

Challenger Brands come in all shapes and sizes. They exist in every industry. Examples in the world of sports that spring to mind are Castore, Tracksmith, On, UnderArmor, the XFL (The United Football League), and AllBirds.

The concept of a Challenger Brand really sparked my interest.

By definition, the Challenger starts at a disadvantage compared to bigger brands in their market—but looks to turn that disadvantage into their greatest selling point.

A challenger brand is a mindset.

The Challenger has ambitions bigger than its conventional resources, and is prepared to do something bold or unconventional to break through.

Being a Challenger Brand is actually where every ambitious individual, business, team, organization, or league starts. Seeing opportunities where others don't and having the confidence to go against the status quo to have the resilience to push forward and "trust the process" sits firmly in the origin stories of success. In fact, when successful organizations plateau, there is often a push to "get back to basics" which is very often getting back to the Challenger mindset.

Sports Business Classes - - Pick a player, team, league, and company. Then walk back to recount their story as a Challenger. Choose an industry or a sport (Media, Pro Leagues, Universities, Teams) and discuss how a Challenger Brand could make an impact. What would success look like?

Finally, turn this idea inward. What is your Challenger story? How can you excel in your field by taking on the role of the Challenger Brand?

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