The Why #78: Why do Challenger Brands need Cheat Codes?

3 min readDec 14, 2023

By Dan Monheit, 14th December 2023

Well well well, looky what we have here. A perfectly timed, completely anonymous question sent in to a perfectly prepped, strikingly handsome question answerer. Perhaps it was you, dear reader, who emailed this one through? Or perhaps the subject line struck such a chord that you kind of wish you had. I mean let’s be honest, you’ve read this far already…

So let’s say, hypothetically, that you are an ambitious marketer who knows they need a different approach in 2024. Let’s imagine that over your career you’ve come to notice that running the Market Leader’s playbook makes no sense for anybody but the market leader. Then what? Well then you might just be a Challenger Brand. And Challenger Brands need ideas that work over, under and around the category conventions. Challenger Brands need Cheat Codes.

Cheat Codes for Challenger Brands

A series of strategies, tactics and techniques proven to give Challenger Brands outsized returns on their effort.

The vast majority of marketing science, literature and advice only serve the number one player in a given category. For example, ‘buy excess share of voice’, ‘be in market for everybody all the time’ and ‘invest heavily in long term brand building’ are all logical and empirically proven ways to succeed. They’re also all much easier to do when you’re working with Herculean media budgets.

Hardhat has spent almost 20 years driving behaviour change for Challenger Brands. This first hand experience has been combined with a deep understanding of Behavioural Science and thousands of hours of research, before being synthesised into the first wave of Cheat Codes for Challenger Brands.

Now, Instead of following interesting but largely irrelevant conventional wisdom, Challenger Brands can look to drive growth by Stealing Playbooks, Winning Bigger, Targeting the Untargeted and more.

Looking to learn more about Cheat Code strategies, presentations, workshops and products? Thought you might, so we’ve built a website just for you.

Because if you can’t beat the system, cheat the system.

Well that just about wraps it up. The Why will be back in 2024 but before then, Hardhat wishes you a relaxing holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Behaviourally Yours,

Dan Monheit

PS If you missed the last edition, you can see why we buy things we don’t need, just because they’re on sale here.

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Want more?
Check out the Cheat Codes for Challenger Brands website with more info on each Cheat Code here.

The Why, The Book
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