Unless you’ve been living on the far side of Pluto, you’re probably aware of Leicester City winning the Premier League at odds of 5000-1 after just escaping relegation last year.

As far as challenger brand success stories go, it’s one for the ages. Here are 5 lessons that the Fantastic Foxes can teach brands.

1) Know who you are

Leicester didn’t win by trying to play fashionable possession football with a thousand passes per game like the big clubs do.

They stuck with a less flashy hard-work and quick counter-attack strategy.

If your brand is a challenger, don’t try and play the big brands at their own game because they’re better at it than you are (and probably have more money to do it).

Be the best you, rather than a second-rate someone else.

2) Play to your strengths

Leicester have two of the three fastest attacking players in the league, ergo counter-attacks work for them.

What have you got?

A really great back-story that might appeal more than a big faceless corporations?

A desire to do things differently to the status quo (remember the famous Avis ‘We’re number 2, so we try harder ‘ strategy)?

A product or service that is genuinely different. Find your strength before you start poking the big beasts with a stick.

3) Think Different (credit: Steve Jobs)

Big teams do expected things like spend loads of cash on star players.

Leicester spent small on rejects, has-beens and never weres, but boy, did their rag-tag bunch turn out to be hungry!

Likewise, challenger brands can’t compete with big brand budgets, so you have to do it by being smarter, fresher and hungrier in everything you do, from the ideas you buy and the agencies you work with to the media you use.

4) Trust Your Team

When star striker Jamie Vardy got injured the football world thought ‘Nice story, but that’s the end of Leicester then.”, Manager Claudio Ranieri and the team trusted their plan and the man who came in for Vardy.

Leo Ulloa responded with two goals at a critical point of the season.

When you’re a challenger brand, your team is smaller than the competition’s.

Turn it into a strength by making sure every one is trusted to play a scoring role.

5) Treat your fans right.

Leicester handed out free gammon baps for their travelling fans this season. They also spent thousands on noisy clappers for every fan at home games.

The result? Probably the best support in England, sometimes so loud it seemed to will the ball into the opposition net.

If you’re a challenger brand, take the best care possible of customers who love you.

Just like Leicester sometimes seemed to have 20,000 players on the pitch, your fans can give you a voice far beyond what your marketing budget can buy.

By Creative Agency WILL