The Challenger Brand Tool Kit

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Running a challenger food and drink brand can be difficult on the best of days. After a year of working with dozens of leading and early-stage challenger brands, I’ve come across a number of products and services that I feel make a real impact.

For any brand with grocery accounts, Elm is quickly establishing itself as an absolute necessity. Elm takes all of your data across grocery, e-commerce and wholesale, and gives you actionable, easy-to-digest insights. Some brands use these insights to direct their student brand ambassador store visits on Bowimi, others use external agencies.

For brands (particularly craft beer brands) who want to offer direct sales to stockists, Sellar is proving to be an incredibly useful tool. Sellar gives brands an online trade store and automates most of the tasks involved in placing and managing direct sales for both the buyers and suppliers.

Every brand that wants to win new stockists or action grocery store issues, needs field activity, either in-house or agency, which is why this article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Bowimi. Take Elm for example, if you get 100 “stock no sales” alerts per week for Sainsbury’s stores across London, Bowimi will be the most cost-effective way for you to manage (and own the data from) the in-house or agency activity that you carry out. If you’ve invested in Sellar to manage your direct sales, Bowimi will make your team much more effective when prospecting, planning routes, tasks, customer visits and placing orders (wholesale and direct).

For any brand with grocery accounts, direct trade and field sales, combining Elm, Sellar and Bowimi would deliver efficiency improvements that large brands like Coca-Cola or Heineken would have spent millions of pounds to achieve. With every innovation, it’s becoming easier and easier for challenger brands to achieve more, in a cost-effective way which wasn’t possible even 3 years ago.

Beyond sales and growth platforms, there’s a wealth of resources available out there in the form of podcasts, programmes and other support. My favourite podcast in this space is Brand Growth Heroes by Fiona Fitz. Fiona uses her podcasts to dive deep into how leading challenger brands achieved their success in often unconventional ways, her guests have included the founders of Tenzing, MOJU, Dash Water, Lucky Saint, and TRIBE.

In summary, if you’ve got grocery accounts: buy Elm. If you’re doing direct sales: buy Sellar and if you’re doing field sales or grocery visits: buy Bowimi. All three are UK-based, early-stage startups where the founders will work tirelessly to deliver extraordinary results for your business.

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