If you’re a small company trying to make your mark in a big money industry, such as insurance or loans, you may feel overwhelmed by the competition. But, don’t fret, there is wonderful news coming out of the most recent research. It turns out that being the underdog is marketing goldmine. After all, people love an underdog.

Average people identify with the underdog, its that simple, and they can’t help but root for the guy or gal or company that is brave enough to take on insurmountable odds.

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What the Research is Saying

Its called the Underdog Effect, and it has been studied and confirmed by both Harvard and Georgetown University. The marketing strategy is called underdog brand biography (UBB). Put simply, it means that you create a story around your brand that promotes your underdog status. You create a historical account of your companies origins, lack of resources, and the your fight against overwhelming odds.

What Can Underdog Brand Biography Do for Your Company?

UBB has been shown to increase brand loyalty, real choice, and purchase intentions. Why does it this work so well? As noted in the introduction, people love the little guy. Life is hard. People struggleto make it ahead in their careers, keep ahead of the bills, and take care of their family. They want to purchase from a company that identifies with that identity. They want to rally around a brand that has been battered and beaten, doubted and mocked, yet kept on punching, refusing to give up.  This is exactly what the UK insurance broker One Sure Insurance did to gain traction in one of the most cut-throat markets out there. One Sure successfully branded themselves as an insurance company that still deals with customers over the phone, compared to the cold online-only giants in the industry.

Harvard researchers say that UBB works best when:

  • People Identify with the brand
  • Consumers feel like underdogs
  • Consumers are buying for themselves and not others
  • The consumer culture identifies with underdogs

What’s Your Story?

Its time to build a narrative around your company that tells the tale of a struggling warrior that refuses to give up no matter what. Humble in nature, yet bold in action and personality. Apple created their brand identity by suggesting they started out in a garage and rose up against all difficulties. Barack Obama was just a member of a oppressed minority that started out in local political action against powerful corporate forces.

Your Disadvantage is Your Advantage

Are you a start up with only basic resources while going against powerful companies with million dollar lobbying budgets? This is all to your advantage. Use it to promote your brand. Your lack of resources is why people will like you. They will identify with your struggle and feel great about buying your products. Are you selling insurance? People will rally to your struggle if you promote your company as the underdog the consumer loves and wants to see win. Who better to help them insure their lives or property than a company who never gives up, never says die, and always strives to improve and evolve?

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