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Eating the Big Fish: How Challenger Brands Can Compete Against Brand Leaders (Adweek Book S.) Hardcover – January 13, 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

: "Although out last year, Eating the Big Fish, is one of the most stimulating books on brands and has grown to become a must read." (Marketing Business - Year's Best Books, January 2001)

"...full of such useful ideas that a whole generation of marketing folk bang on about [it]"  (Campaign, Friday 23rd November 2007)

"Always find your brands in the slipstream of the market leaders? Well this could be the book for you." (The Drum, October 17th 2008)

Review

  --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (January 13, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471242098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471242093
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,229,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Morgan explains how "challenger brands can compete against brand leaders." What is a "challenger brand"? In his Preface, Morgan suggests that it is based on eight "credos":

1. Break with the immediate past

2. Build a lighthouse entity

3. Assume thought leadership of the category

4. Create symbols of reevaluation

5. Sacrifice

6. Overcommit

7. Use advertising and publicity as a high-leverage asset

8. Become ideas-centered rather than consumer-centered

He discusses each in detail in Part II.

Morgan's primary objective is to provide what he calls a "magnetic compass" for Small Fish which will enable them to compete successfully. Obviously, they face problems: certain markets have moved for the first time from maturity to overcapacity; as a result, there is not enough "food" to go around; and while turning their attention downward, the Big Fish have also turned outward...toward Small Fish; as the Big Fish moved downward, retailers moved upward. Time and again, he stresses the importance of ideas...actually, better ideas. Hence the imperative to break with the past: assume nothing, take no one and nothing for granted, constantly ask "What if?" and "Why not?" For Small Fish, the status quo is death. Period. Better ideas are engaging, provocative, and self-propagating. They help to create competitive advantages.

Think in terms of an ambush: A Challenger brand can attack whenever and wherever least expected. A Challenger brand redefines terms such as "enemy", "opponent", "competition", etc. A Challenger brand has attitude. It thrives when underestimated. Better yet, when ignored. Big Fish know they are Big Fish. They have a tendency to become arrogant, complacent, hence vulnerable.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm telling all my clients about this book. If you agree with the following, you'll like it too. "..marketing is not a science but informed judgement...the cover of the book should offer a photograph of Herb Kelleher, dressed as his occasional business alter ego, Elvis Presley, with the title 'Does This Man Look Like a Scientist?'"
Great exercises to get you thinking, no matter if your brand is a leader or an also ran. e.g."Grove" named for Andy Grove- "Fire ourselves- leave the building and come back in as an entirely new team. What's one thing you would stop doing and one thing you would do instead?" Morgan punches holes in conventional wisdom- mission statements, focus groups, etc. A favorite quote: "The key failure, then, for any company attempting to effect a gear change in its own performance is not the ability to define its intention, but the inability to translate intention into behavior."
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read many leadership books the last few years and I decided to read to this book because my company is transitioning to using the "challenger" marketing system. All I can say is that I hope the marketing changes my company makes are better than this book. This is one of the most disjointed and difficult leadership books I have read. So many examples of success stories yet I felt the author never clearly states how to implement an effective marketing campaign. Just reviewing this book and not judging the success of the companies that use it, it took me a week to slog through the 300 pages and it felt like a chore just finishing the pages. This may be one of those books that have to be read a couple of times (I hope not) to really get to the core meaning. In summary, not recommended for the casual reader of leadership books.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed how the author encourages you to look at other businesses unrelated to your field then bring back lessons learned to your situation. Our business will be using these lessons in a strategy review for a relaunch. Highly recommend for sales and marketing people to gain a fresh perspective.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book details the realities, challenges, and opportunities of those brands that aren't the category leaders. Since missteps aren't just setbacks, but could be failures with smaller brands, it provides a perspective on how to define who/what the brand is and how to compete. I highly recommend this book for anyone in marketing, but especially those brands that have to fight to be heard over the gorilla(s) in your category.
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Format: Hardcover
To my knowledge the first book/research study that doesn't fail into the common trap of synthesizing the marketing secrets of the cathegory leaders, that 99% of us are not.
In that way a very interesting approach to marketing. That aside the insights presented here are brilliant and relevant. Also Morgan writes in a very enjoyable and lively style, which definitely makes the understanding and digestion easier.
All in all an entertaining book about a field that should interest everybody involved in managing or marketing a business. Not bad at all!
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Format: Hardcover
I am new to marketing and I wanted a good book on marketing. This one delivers, particularly for challenger brands something that is becomming more apparent in eCommerce. While the book does not talk about eCommerce many of the concepts and thoughts apply. Overall worth reading to learn about branding and marketing.
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