Challenger Brand Thesis

Challenger brands ask questions. Of the world, of themselves and their teams. They challenge the status quo, our perceptions and expectations, the established conventions of a category. They push up against what is wrong in society, an industry or their company. They do this not just because it’s fun, although it is, but because they are restless, relentlessly ambitious, and their ambitions exceed their resources. For them, there is no other way.

Think Virgin America, Nike, Uber, Dyson or Tesla. Think Tom’s Shoes, IKEA, Charles Schwab or King of Shaves. Think brands that are centered on a big, powerful and enduring belief. A belief that they bring to life in everything they do. Is that your brand? Could it be? Should it be? Click here to find out more.

Challenger Consulting

Since 2012, in my role as VP, Brand Evangelism at Charles Schwab,  I partnered with world-renowned brand consultancy eatbigfish to apply their challenger methodologies to all aspects of Schwab's business.

Eatbigfish, literally, wrote the book on how some of the world’s most successful brands have challenged convention and invented, or re-invented products, services and in some cases whole categories. And it’s that experience and depth of knowledge that I bring to bear on every Challenger project, for companies whose ambitions outweigh their resources, from Charles Schwab to Rebel Athletic, Inner City Advisors to Senda Athletics.   

This Challenger approach helps brands create a beacon by which the world has to navigate - not the other way round. A beacon that projects its values and beliefs insistently and consistently. Ensuring that the world has no choice but to take notice.

To find out more about full Challenger Strategy workshops, inspirational keynote presentations and managed offsites, click here.


Eat Big Fish Image from their website


Julian is an incredibly inspirational and highly effective marketing strategist.  The best facilitator I’ve ever worked with, he raises the game on every project that he works on.

Julian was a key driver behind the success of Schwab’s “Own Your Tomorrow” brand platform. Thoughtful, expert and courageous, he inspired our teams to push beyond the normal limits to create game-changing ideas.

Peter Boland, SVP Brand and Advertising, Charles Schwab

Julian brought fresh and thoughtful perspective to every Challenger project I worked on with him. His ability to activate and unify senior leadership, sales, marketing, technology, and various product teams is inspiring! Julian gets people to step outside their comfort zone, think differently and find renewed passion for what they do - a true talent and something that is extremely hard to replicate. 

Caitlin Sachdev, Managing Director, Charles Schwab

The foundation for the Rebel brand is the Challenger identity that Julian drove at the outset of the company’s formation. It has guided everything we’ve done, and helped propel us in three years from a minnow to the number two player in the All Star Cheerleading market. Julian brings real vision, clarity and incredibly compelling storytelling to every project and gives companies a chance to be the best they can be.

Karen Noseff Aldridge, Founder and CEO, Rebel Athletic

The Challenger strategy that Julian helped us develop enabled Inner City Advisors and Fund Good Jobs move to the next level in terms of our communications, business strategy and fundraising. Julian has a unique ability to help teams uncover and articulate their vision – and then bring it to life in a very collaborative and enjoyable process. We are looking forward to working with him again as our company takes another huge step forward in 2016.

Sean Daniel Murphy, CEO, Inner City Advisors and Fund Good Jobs


ad:tech SF 2015 Julian Aldridge interview

How to implement a Challenger Culture

“Rock and roll is a nuclear blast of reality in a mundane world where no-one is allowed to be magnificent.” Kim Fowley, Runaways