Marketing + Communications

David vs Goliath: How your smaller brand can compete with big industry players

The promotional side of marketing, in any sector, is rigged in favour of the big brands. They’ll outmatch SMEs and smaller companies in salience at every turn. Paul Dyson talks all about it. 

So how can SMEs and lesser-known brands compete and achieve a level of brand salience and recognition that keeps them relevant with existing and prospective clients?  

It might seem like trying to win an arm wrestle with a gorilla, i.e. an exercise in futility, but the strategy is not about trying to out muscle your hairy simian opponent. It’s about changing the nature of the competition that gives you the advantage. When you can’t beat him with brute force alone, change the game and beat him at something like tiddlywinks instead.  

Translation: You can’t compete with the big brands for budget, production value and reach. Instead it’s all about communicating your value through strategies that are client focussed, outspoken and authentic – a trio of qualities the big boys will struggle to match you on.  

David vs Goliath

Creativity vs consistency

So, how to you compete with the big boys? The usual answer would be creativity, as a synonym of “unique”, “bold” or “ingenious”. But as a lesser-known brand name in your sector, consistency is far more valuable. 

No single touchpoint will turn a prospect into a client, so it pays dividends when each time they encounter your brand, whether that be as an event sponsor, a LinkedIn post, or a visit to your website, that your messaging and visuals are consistent. 

Be consistent in your messaging, especially around your vision, mission and values and roll that out to every touch point of your brand. 

Powerful opinions 

Voice your opinions and stand by them. Many of your larger competitors are too risk averse to say anything that challenges the status quo, however ineffective or downright silly that norm may be. 

How can you truly demonstrate credibility in your discipline as a solicitor, an architect or a construction specialist if you don’t have an opinion on how your discipline operates. Nothing is ever perfect, and that means there’s usually something to commentate on – so long as it stays constructive of course (it’s not just about burning bridges for the sake of it). 

Embrace authenticity

Embrace authenticity in your marketing and messaging. Your brand’s unique voice and perspective are powerful tools in establishing trust and credibility with your target audience. People (even when they’re behind a business) value transparency and genuineness. So, your ability to authentically communicate who you are and what you stand for is a key differentiator. 

Focus on building relationships, not just transactions. In our sector, relationships are paramount and key drivers of long-term success, which hinges on your ability to understand and meet the needs of your clients consistently. 

Invest in quantifying your understanding of your audience, and marketing effectiveness through data-led insight. From customer feedback to web analytics or sentiment analysis of comments on LinkedIn, these efforts will help continuously refine your tactics. 

Consider your clients’ context

Make sure to consider the broader context of your clients’ operations. After all, your relationship with them is likely only one part of their day-to-day work, and potentially quite a small part, all things considered. So demonstrating empathy and awareness of the challenges and opportunities your clients face presents a significant opportunity to gain an advantage. Join the conversations that are important to them, and make meaningful contributions, while avoiding a shameless sales pitch. 

When you take a client-oriented approach and avoid the skin-deep coolness of feature oriented “creative”, you create meaningful connections with your clients, and deliver real value, both to them, and your own bottom line. 

Just do it

While our landscape may sometimes feel tilted in favour of the big brands, SMEs and lesser-known businesses can still carve out an impactful presence by adhering to a well-rounded strategy. 

When you prioritise consistency over fleeting creativity, you ensure every touchpoint reinforces your core messages. When you dare to voice powerful, constructive opinions, you showcase your expertise and demonstrate care for your clients’ issues. And when you’re authentic and personable, you foster trust and credibility that fuels relationships beyond a given transaction. 


Need some extra brand firepower to take on your Goliath? Luma have a wide arsenal of marketing tools to help you compete. Contact us today to get started. 

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