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David vs. Goliath

We’re hardwired to cheer for an underdog. 

From Rocky versus Creed to, more recently, last year’s run by the Saint Peter’s Peacocks into the NCAA Elite Eight, we are captivated when an underdog pulls off an improbable upset against an overwhelming favorite. 

Like sports teams, your prospects and clients are also inclined to root for your business if you can tap into their natural inclination to cheer for an underdog. 

According to Gavin Hammar, the founder of Sendible, the secret is to humanize your brand. 

4 Ways Sendible Humanized Their Brand to Compete Against Large Competitors

Hammar’s company, Sendible, is a platform that allows companies to manage their social media accounts from one place. 

The company grew steadily until 2016, when a large competitor entered the space, causing Hammar’s sales to plateau. After experiencing two years of stagnation, Hammar attended a social media conference. He described his epiphany to John Warrillow in a recent Built to Sell Radio episode: “I thought, what if we leaned into the idea that we were smaller, bootstrapped, and focused more on the customer?”

The companies Hammar was competing against were faceless brands. As a smaller company, Sendible could do things large brands couldn’t. Hammar humanized his brand using four tactics:

  1. He started a podcast where he shared his struggles as a bootstrapped founder.
  2. He added photos of his employees on their website and social media so that customers could put a face to a name. 
  3. He answered customer questions with asynchronous video.
  4. He sent a personalized LinkedIn message to every new customer Sendible onboarded.

Hammar’s decision to embrace the identity of a scrappy start-up resonated with his customers. Sendible began developing a group of advocates that passionately talked about the brand and referred others. As a result, the company grew 30% yearly until 2021, when ASG made an acquisition offer Hammar couldn’t refuse.

How to Compete Against Corporate Giants

When you find yourself in a David and Goliath battle, embrace your size. Your scrappiness may encourage your customers to root for you.

When you’re up against companies with more resources and money, you must find different ways to win new customers. Humanizing your brand is one way to differentiate your brand from the well-funded giants. 

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