Eating The Big Fish Book Summary By Adam Morgan

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Eating the Big Fish (2009) is all about helping up-and-coming brands rise up and challenge the industry giants.

It offers a strategic overview of how second- and third-tier brands can become top contenders, offering concrete advice so that emerging brands have the tools to make their mark on competitive markets.

Throughout this book, you will be presented with real world examples of successful strategies that can help you get your brand to the next level and battle it out with even the most established players in the industry.

Reading Eating the Big Fish can provide valuable insight on what it takes for smaller companies to succeed in an ever-growing market, giving them a better chance at success.

Eating The Big Fish

Book Name: Eating The Big Fish (How Challenger Brands Can Compete Against Brand Leaders)

Author(s): Adam Morgan

Rating: 4/5

Reading Time: 16 Minutes

Categories: Marketing & Sales

Author Bio

Adam Morgan is not only a best-selling author and but also the founder of eatbigfish, one of most renowned marketing consultancies in the world.

His firm helps clients develop marketing strategies that deliver maximum benefit.

Morgan is widely respected for his knowledge and experience in the marketing industry, having written books such as Eating The Big Fish, which provides made an impact on many modern companies.

He has also been recognized by Open Forum, Business Week, and Strategy + Business magazine with awards such as “Best Marketing Books” or “Game Changing Strategy and Leadership” award.

He frequently appears in speaking events around the world to share his insights on how building powerful marketing strategies can help boost results and make better decisions for any company.

How To Succeed As A Challenger Brand: Understanding The Strategies And Advantages Needed To Compete With The Giants


Creating a powerful identity around your product or brand is key if you want to make people sit up and take notice.

This is especially true if you are a challenger brand trying to compete with big name franchises in major city centers.

Challenger brands are an important part of keeping the market creative and healthy, but it takes more than just creative ideas to stand out from the competition.

You need to understand what advantages you have as a challenger brand, such as being more agile and flexible in adapting to customer needs, OR tapping into special interests that likely won’t be covered by large organizations.

Additionally, you must also find ways to differentiate your product or service from others on the market – this could involve leveraging popular trends or making even traditionally mundane items like cleaning products appear cool and trendy.

Keep these principles and strategies in mind when building your challenger brand and you may be surprised at how successful it can become!

Challenger Brands: Surpassing Brand Leaders In An Unbalanced Market

When it comes to business, the competition can be fierce.

Market leaders are well-known firms with clear competitive advantages that give them access to a higher rate of profit than their challengers.

For example, data from 2007 showed that a European brand leader’s earnings were 40% compared to just 26% for the second-ranked brand.

In the United States, these differences could be even wider: 32% for the leader and 18% for its competitor.

However, this doesn’t mean that emerging brands don’t stand a chance against established players.

Take Avis car rental company as an example: although they weren’t the biggest on the market, clever advertising allowed them to take second place and further close off Hertz’s lead in the field.

That just shows that challenger brands have the ability to challenge industry leaders – all it takes is some creativity and hard work on their part.

Overcoming The Challenges Facing Challenger Brands In A Time Of Constant Distraction

The rise in personal distraction and the overwhelming amount of information that we are exposed to on a daily basis have made it even harder for challenger brands to capture people’s attention.

With so much going on, our minds can hardly keep up.

Furthermore, long hours and a lack of time is creating immense stress levels in consumers, and they don’t really want to be bothered by ads or marketing caught up in their little moments of respite.

To make matters worse, there has been a dramatic decrease in consumer trust for brands over the past decade, leaving many skeptical of marketing messages from unknown companies.

With all this in mind, it’s definitely an uphill battle for challenger brands to make an impact with their target audiences.

Challenging The Categorizations Of Products: How Blurring Lines Create Competition For Marketers

Categorizations Of Products

As products and services evolve, the boundaries between them are becoming increasingly blurred.

This means that companies in different markets are competing against each other more than ever before.

For example, the iPhone can be used as a phone, camera, and browser – so now it’s not just up against other smartphone retailers but also camera companies like Nikon and Canon.

The result is increased competition across all industries – both big and small businesses must contend with a broader range of competitors than ever before.

This can be particularly challenging for challenger brands who have to work extra hard to differentiate themselves from brand leaders who have already established strong positions in the market.

Ultimately, this blurring of boundaries has created an even playing field where anyone can compete regardless of size or market category.

Companies must now work smarter and harder in order to stand out from the crowd and build a successful business.

The Power Of Intelligent Naivety: How An Inexperienced Brand Can Transform A Field

When it comes to challenger brands, you don’t need years of experience in the industry to be successful.

In fact, having a lack of experience can often be an advantage – as it allows you to ask the essential questions that more experienced competition may overlook.

Take Eric Ryan, for example.

When he created Method in 1999, he knew absolutely nothing about cleaning products – yet went on to create a successful brand and product due to his design background.

He was able to ask himself ‘Why can’t a cleaning product come in a designer bottle?’ and then observe home makeover TV shows – gaining insight into how household cleaning could be seen as something stylish and desirable.

Rather than simply following conventional practices in his field, Ryan used his observations from another area of expertise to develop an ecologically friendly product that proved immensely popular – helping him become the seventh-fastest growing product among all packaged goods in the United States!

It just goes to show how useful naivety can be when it comes to challenging the accepted norms – indeed if it weren’t for Eric Ryan’s lack of experience with home cleaning products, Method wouldn’t have become as wildly successful as it is today!

Challenger Brands Use Lighthouse Identities To Cultivate Emotional Relationships With Customers

It is vitally important that challenger brands create strong values and establish emotional relationships with customers if they want to be successful.

This can be seen in the example of Camper, a Spanish shoe company.

Camper’s success was built on their motto of ‘Walk, don’t run’, which communicated to their customers their values of slow living and why they should adopt this way of life.

It reinforces their image as a brand associated with slow living, especially since the shoes were first launched on Mallorca, an island known for its relaxed atmosphere.

More importantly, however, these strong consistent values also help challenger brands to create an emotional bond with their customers.

As seen through Apple’s success, the products become valuable because consumers identify with what the company stands for; they believe that having one of those products marks them as creative or original in some way.

Thus, it is essential for challenger brands to develop both a clear set of values and an emotional connection with their customers if they wish to succeed in today’s competitive market.

Challenger Brands Use Symbols Of Reevaluation To Get Consumers To Rethink And Break Their Habits

Symbols Of Reevaluation

It’s been found that most people tend to stick to regular habits when making purchasing decisions.

They don’t evaluate each individual purchase in detail but rather, just go with what they have bought in the past.

This can lead to a lack of choice and variety in their lives and, over time, it could have a negative effect on their quality of life.

That’s where challenger brands come into play.

These brands use powerful symbols and actions to draw out ‘sleep shopping’ consumers and challenge them to reevaluate the category, brand or product they are buying or not buying.

Take for example the discounted retailer Target who partnered up with acclaimed American architect Michael Graves for their brand relaunch.

This move was so unexpected yet very effective because it created a symbolic message which made people think differently about the cheap and unfashionable Target brand they were familiar with before.

Thus, while habits may dictate consumption on a daily basis, powerful symbols can change that by subtly arousing interest amongst consumers and creating an opportunity for challenger brands to showcase their true value.

Wrap Up

The final takeaway from the book Eating The Big Fish is that smaller and ambitious companies don’t have to feel discouraged just because they’re not number one in their industry.

While there are certainly obstacles to be dealt with, there are also advantages that other brands may not possess that could be effectively leveraged for success.

The key piece of advice provided is to limit yourself to two marketing actions at the most, so that you can take advantage of your limited resources and maximize your return on investment.

Begin by listing out all your marketing goals for a year, then cut out everything but the two most important goals.

Then do the same for all the possible marketing activities you could undertake, and when you’ve narrowed it down, use those two tactics as your primary means of achieving success.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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