Challenger Brand marketing agency vs. a normal marketing agency. What’s the difference?

3 min readOct 15, 2021


Challenger Brand marketing agencies have all the hallmarks of a Challenger. They fight smarter with an agenda to upend the status quo.

On first glance, you might not think there’s a big difference between a normal marketing agency and a Challenger Brand marketing agency like 5&Vine.

To better understand it is to better understand what a Challenger Brand is. Challenger Brands are not defined by their size but by their aim to upend the status quo. They go into business not for profit but purpose, and align their decisions with outcomes that are better for people and the planet.

They are humble and reflective, acknowledging their progress and the distance they are yet to travel.

They act alone and with others. They don’t wait for others to lead when leadership is needed, but also know that change is more powerful when realized together, and play the needed role for the greater good.

They question fundamentals, operate from first principles and are intentional about actions. They don’t need to do things the way they’ve been done in the past, but architect new ways based on what the world needs now.

They do right by the customer. They invest in relationships with them, empathize and often drive exceptional growth through word of mouth and referrals.

As our fractional CMO Rahul Raj said in our interview on Challenger Brands, “they speak out against wrongs and aim to resolve them. This can range from egregious fees, horrible customer service and mediocre performance to racial injustice, gender discrimination or environmental degradation. They believe that business can and must be a force for good, and that their responsibility extends well beyond their obligation to shareholders to their customers, employees, society at large and the planet.”

Armed with that understanding, you’ll be able to better differentiate what separates a Challenger Brand marketing agency from a normal one.

Much like the brands they’re working with, Challenger Brand marketing agencies are hardwired to disrupt and fight smart to fuel growth. They’re not incrementalists, but rather dedicated to understanding the change you want to realize on all levels so they can strategize accordingly.

That ethos follows through to their teams. In order for a Challenger to grow, it needs to be surrounded by people who adopt a Challenger mindset.

Take our work as a case study. To date, we’ve helped dozens of Challenger Brands win and developed a playbook to help take on or take down industry incumbents in the process. We know what David needs to take on Goliath, and understand the potential in an unfair advantage. We’re brave, ask the tough questions, and run towards a challenge.

As well as our team being professionals in their respective fields, be that in growth, design, or copywriting, we are led by a Fractional CMO with decades of experience enabling socially minded Challengers to win. We, like the Challengers we’re helping, care deeply about others and the wider implication of doing business.

In our work with Haute Hijab, we helped the brand strengthen their Can’t Ban Us campaign by leaning into what made its community unique. The result looked prejudice in the face while delivering record breaking sales. In our work with Stok, we developed a new and stronger position, logo, website and content, to help them stand as true leaders in creating environmentally leading high-performance buildings. By leaning into not just how but why our clients do business, and the human beings that make it so special, we’re able to position them to build a radically better future.

To summarize, the benefit of working with a Challenger Brand marketing agency is that you’ll be surrounded by Challengers. You’ll get to leverage their thinking, their unique approach to business, and reap the rewards when you displace your industry’s incumbent.

5&Vine is a marketing agency and Fractional CMO for Challenger Brands. To explore more of our work helping Challengers, click here.




5&Vine is a Marketing Agency and Fractional CMO for Challenger Brands.