As far as competitors go, they don’t get much tougher than McDonald’s. Last year, the company spent $388.8 million on advertising and $633.1 million the year before.

Operating over 40,000 restaurants, owning one of the most recognized brands in the world, and generating an estimated revenue of 21.5 billion by the end of the year, McDonald’s sure looks like the goliath of all goliaths.

Let’s meet the challenger. With an ad spend of 2.4 million dollars in 2019, Burger King is a long way off in terms of money power. So how can it possibly compete with the likes of McDonald’s? With extreme and fabulously creative marketing initiatives, that’s how.

So let’s learn from Burger King. Getting ingenious with your angle, keeping it sustainable, and catching on to trends is a sure-fire way to differentiate yourself from the crowd – even when the crowd has a bigger marketing budget.

Here’s three things Burger King have done in 2019, which any challenger brand can take for their own.

Champion sustainability 

2019 was the year of sustainable marketing and expectations are only going to grow for brands in 2020. From Ikea’s pledge to only use recyclable materials in its textiles by 2020, to Lego opting to build their bricks from sugarcane instead of plastic, brands are flaunting their ability to be responsible and environmentally kind.

There’s certainly the audience for it. 96% of people across the USA and the UK think that their own actions like buying ethically, recycling, and donating make a difference when it comes to tackling climate change. Overall, 66% of global consumers and 73% of Millenials are willing to pay more for sustainable items.

So what do you do when you notice your competitor is giving away a huge number of plastic toys? You release an ad like this one:

Burger King is first to highlight the failings of their competitors, and use them to their advantage. Combining humor, quick thinking, and topical issues, the BKMeltdown campaign is an example to inspire other challengers.

Try it for yourself

Challenger brands are often quicker to adjust and bring about change than larger companies. Bringing in a sustainable initiative or making your company footprint greener can distinguish your brand from its closest competitor. Businesses or customers who want to make conscientious decisions are more likely to warm to your brand and think positively about the long-term impact of choosing your company.

Are the other brands in your field still using paper brochures or handouts? Be the first brand at the event with an e-brochure (in a cool Turtl Doc perhaps 🐢) and champion non-disposable marketing. We’ve got a few ideas about how you can use Turtl to do just that over here.

Think unconventionally  

Burger King had a long, hard think about when their audience needs their product the most. It’s not when they’re walking past a chain or approaching a drive-through. It’s when they’re starving on the commute home after a long day of work, stuck in standstill traffic. Cue the Burger King hunger-prevention, traffic-jam whopper delivery service. No, really:

The challenger brand targeted high-congestion zones, where drivers could face waiting times of up to 5 hours a day. Delivery drivers on motorbikes weaved through traffic to deliver burgers to moving vehicles as they made their way through the busiest junctions in the city. Ads appeared specifically during peak congestion times to let drivers know they could order food straight to their car – these ads even displayed waiting times to let drivers know how long they were going to feel hungry for if they didn’t.

The unconventional approach had significant results. Delivery orders increased by 63% in just one week, with the number of daily app downloads increasing 44 times. After beginning the traffic-jam delivery service, Burger King became the number one fast-food app in Mexico, surpassing McDonald’s, Domino’s, and Starbucks.

Try it for yourself 

Instead of investing in expensive sponsorships or following the routes already well-traversed by your competitors, get creative. Think about the experience your user has on a daily basis. When they need your service the most, and how could you make it easier for them to experience your service? Are they pinching at a PDF on their mobile to read your spec? Are they tired of waiting to download a document they most probably won’t read? 🐢

Maximize on the latest tech 

How did Burger King make their traffic-jam delivery service viable? With the latest, most exciting tech on offer. Billboards were constantly updating according to real-time data to give personalized delivery updates. Google APIs were used to target vehicle location and speed to deliver on time to gridlock zones within a 3-kilometer radius from the restaurants. Drivers could even order using voice commands while they kept their eyes on the traffic.

Try it for yourself

The tech is out there, and the support is ready to help you use it to your advantage. An ability to adapt and quickly pick up new technology is another advantage that challenger brands hold over their larger rivals.

Don’t be afraid to look at the options out there for making new technologies a part of your offering. Instead of handing out cards, try handing out QR codes which link to your profile, or update the way your content looks with the latest Turtl tech 💪

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