Competing against the retail giants: How to give challengers a chance 

In our summer “sunlounger” series, we discovered that loyalty is becoming harder to influence. With consumers moving away from the usual “go-to” brands, the door might be pushed open for challenger brands to step in and take market share…

But is that really possible with a smaller marketing budget?


Communities are the biggest influence on consumer buying behaviour – only 8% of us buy without a recommendation from someone we know and trust. Those recommendations usually occur in our real-world communities, meaning the streets, towns and cities where we live.

Recommendations become more powerful when they are reinforced across multiple people within a community.

You might be wondering how communities can amplify your marketing strategy. The truth is, as humans we often forget the details of a recommendation. Perhaps someone told you about a new children’s bike brand, but you were busy at the time. You mentally noted the context but when you need to recall the details, you can’t remember the name of the brand.

Marketing activity can serve as a nudge to purchase, following a recommendation. In our example of the children’s bike brand, an Instagram advert might pop-up, reminding the consumer of that recommendation.


Find the right micro influencers

Micro-influencers are a powerful way of supporting community conversation. If you can find influencers who genuinely use your product and who exist in your brand communities, you’ll see an uplift in the impact they have.

Filter the thousands of possible influencers down to those who will have the most significant impact for you.

Improve category positioning

What is more likely to convince a consumer to switch brands – comms from your marketing team, or messages from more and more of their friends about how good your product is?

In the same way that your communities are your brand’s strongholds, your competitors have theirs too. However, assaulting these head-on is expensive and time-consuming. Instead, you can encourage your communities to grow and grow, and in this way, engulf your competitors’ strongholds, so consumers are hearing more and more from people they know and trust about how good your product is.

Change behaviours to adopt your product

Behavioural change is hard. You may recall the headlines “do your friends make you fat?” from 10 years ago. The short point they were making is that those we spend time with influence our behaviours, and therefore they can also stop us or help us change our behaviours.

By understanding where you have communities, you can then think about how to identify those communities most likely to adopt the required behavioural change. By combining this data, you’ll be able to focus your resources and budget more strategically.

Prevent delisting

The store locations where you are at threat of being delisted might be supporting strong communities which could erode while you’re delisted.

By detecting strong communities and cross-referencing those against any delisted stores, Herdify could help you identify areas that are at higher risk of erosion.

This would allow you to make decisions on where to deploy temporary concessions, popups or events, or “we’ll be back” community nurturing content.

Be strategic with sampling

Samples are great but can be quickly forgotten, as people often try them when they are not buying (for home-delivered samples).

As a marketer, you ideally want consumers who have likely heard about your product through community recommendations to receive samples, so they reinforce the memory and nudge a behaviour to purchase or discuss.

Identify your brand’s communities and target your sampling accordingly, rather than send to anyone who could be a target.

Friends in conversation | Herdify

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Ignite your brand power: Why your offline community is the real influencer

“Social communities grow more powerfully offline, yet most marketing tactics tap into the online element. 92% of word-of-mouth – the single biggest influence on consumer buying behaviour – happens offline."

~ Ed Barter, Lead data scientist at Herdify

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