Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

How Charles Schwab rediscovered its challenger mojo


The full text article is not available for purchase.

The publisher only permits individual articles to be downloaded by subscribers.

We tend to think that acting as a ‘challenger brand’ is the preserve of disruptive start-ups such as Uber, iShares, Dyson and so on. Their ability to take advantage of new technologies and market openings would seem to be a prerequisite for acting as a challenger. It would seem that bigger, more established brands lack the agility, energy and introspection required to challenge category conventions. But as Charles Schwab's current ‘Own Your Tomorrow’ campaign shows, being a successful challenger may not be about size or recency, nor even agility. It is about adopting the right mindset, one in which taking on category conventions on behalf of a defined group of consumers becomes the company's raison d'ĂȘtre. It means burnishing and championing key values and beliefs that might lie dormant in the firm's DNA. Those values or beliefs have extra power and resonance to consumers if they represent something special, meaningful and transformational. Of course, today's consumers expect any brand that wants to engage with them to demonstrate, through brand behaviour, its values and beliefs, which makes being a challenger brand an imperative for today's marketers, not just one of a choice of positioning options. For Charles Schwab, adopting the challenger mindset meant breathing new life into the core values upon which the firm was founded in the 1970s. Within three years of the launch of their refreshed challenger platform, the brand's position, according to Landor's Brand Asset Valuator (see figure 1) shifted from lagging to leading brand in the financial service brokerage category. This paper describes the process by which Charles Schwab regained category leadership.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: brand turnaround; campaign development; challenger brand; consumer insights; financial services marketing

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Brand Strategy is the essential professional journal publishing in-depth, peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of brands.

    Guided by a senior Editorial Board, consisting of leading branding experts, each quarterly 100-page issue – published in print and online – provides detailed, practical articles from leading branding professionals on innovative strategies, techniques and trends, together with the latest applied research in branding and detailed analysis of how leading brands are managed around the world. It does not publish advertising and all content is peer-reviewed to ensure that it is of direct, practical relevance to those working in the field.

  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Contact us
  • Forthcoming content
  • Multi-user licences
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more