A challenger brand is a brand in an industry where it is neither the market leader or a niche brand. Challenger brands are categorised by a mindset which sees them have business ambitions beyond conventional resources and an intent to bring change to an industry.
The establishment brand is the antithesis to the challenger brand, the market leader being the primary example of an establishment brand.
Virgin Atlantic, BrewDog, Tyrells, innocent, Uber and Airbnb are all considered classic examples of a challenger brand. The Challenger Project is a study into challenger brands and how they grow and succeed.
Challenger brand Wikipedia
The concept of a challenger brand was first introduced by Adam Morgan in 1999 in the business book, ‘Eating the Big Fish’. In this book three specific criteria for challenger brands were defined; state of market – they are not a market leader nor a niche brand, state of mind – they have ambitions beyond conventional marketing resource, and rate of success - they have experienced significant and rapid growth.