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Why Your Business Needs An Enemy

A little strife is good for business.

Why Your Business Needs An Enemy
[Image: Flickr user Kevin Dooley]

A lot of people ask me, “What’s the secret to getting PR?” The truth is, there is no secret.

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Many startups fail, so every business that’s still in business has a story to tell. It’s important that the leaders in that business are willing to speak loudly and proudly about what they have built and the goal they have set out to achieve.

You have to be willing to speak the truth and say it how it is, and one of the most compelling ways you can do it is showing that you are a challenger brand.

Challenger Brands

The Internet has brought about the age of disruption. It has shattered the barriers to entry in every single industry and enabled anyone with an idea to challenge the Goliaths of their industry. In essence, the Internet has caused the fastest acceleration of challenger brands that we have ever seen.

One of the fundamental requirements for a challenger brand is that it needs to have an enemy.

Your enemy is usually a company that has been around for a long time and held a dominant position in the market. Your enemy is a brand all of your customers know and dislike, but they’ve had to give their business to your enemy for many years because there has been a lack of options in the market until your challenger brand came along. For Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic, the enemy was British Airways. For Subway, the enemy was McDonald’s. For Apple, the enemy was IBM and Microsoft. Uber’s enemy is the taxi industry. Your enemy must be massive and disliked.

You should be very clear about who your enemy is, and you have to be willing to challenge the enemy head on. This will ensure that people understand exactly what your business stands for and cause people to pay attention, follow you, and embrace your brand values.

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Getting your brand noticed isn’t rocket science, and there’s no silver bullet. If your business is innovating and growing, I guarantee there are interesting aspects of it that people will want to hear about.

You need to figure out what your brand stands for, who or what it challenges, and then be loud and proud about that. You might have to get out of your comfort zone, but your customers will love you for throwing down the gauntlet to the Goliaths of your industry.

Ruslan Kogan is founder and CEO of tech e-commerce startup Kogan.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ruslankogan.