How can you get noticed when your brand is in a crowded space and you are just a small fish in a really big pond? Our guest today says you can play that to your advantage. Prentice Howe is the owner and CEO of Door Number 3, an Austin ad agency and author of the Empowered Challenger Playbook, a book that looks at how brands can change the game, steal market share and topple giants.

5 Brand Personality Traits

Most people are drawn to products that bring good things into the world through innovation or better business practices. Prentice says there are five personality traits that inspire the voice and tone of a brand.

  • The Lightning Rod. These brands are super authentic and even polarizing to some consumers. Like a lightning rod, they are in tune with what’s going on in our culture.
  • These are the brands that have the ability to look out over the horizon and bring to market what people need ahead of others.
  • Fostering Rejection. Brands in this category aren’t out to please everyone. They have a specific, cult-like following around a singular passion that make the consumers ardent fans.
  • Compulsive Servitude. These brands overdeliver. In fact, over-delivery is the very essence of the brand. Prentice says FedEx and Ritz Carlton are great examples of compulsive servitude. FedEx changed shipping overnight and Ritz Carlton knew what we wanted to have in our hotel rooms before we even asked for it.
  • Constant Evolution. These brands are able to transcend product categories because they are trusted and respected by consumers. Prentice says Shinola is a great example of a brand in constant evolution. The company started in 2011 making beautiful watches. Today, they are a luxury goods company, making leather goods and bicycles.


Operating with a Challenger Spirit

Of course, not every brand can be an empowered challenger. You have to be honest about who you are. What do you offer that others don’t and can you deliver that experience? You also need a solid strategy with a road map of how to get there and how to zig when the competition zags.

The Empowered Challenger Playbook

Prentice believes anyone who is a founder or CEO, a chief marketing officer or just someone involved in marketing a brand would enjoy his book, The Empowered Challenger Playbook. He calls it a positioning book and includes interviews and case studies of companies that mirror the five personality traits discussed. The book is available on Amazon and at the Book People store in Austin, Texas.

Connect with Prentice How


LinkedIn: @PrenticeHowe

Instagram: @Prenticehowe