Rule Breakers’ Rule Book Revealed at PHD Malaysia’s conference

Revealing the commandments of challenger brand thinking PHD Malaysia launched its latest thought-leadership publication ‘Overthrow II’ at an event for its clients and partners. Held in Kuala Lumpur on September 24, the conference drew an audience of 150 delegates from the marketing industry.

Drawing on the insights and experiences of today’s challengers disrupting the status quo, Overthrow II identifies 10 different challenger types including Real & Human, Feisty Underdog, Local Hero, Next Generation, and Dramatic Disruptor.

The book follows the previous collaboration between PHD and eatbigfish in 2012, Overthrow – 10 ways to tell a challenger story.

The new book carries interviews with some of the freshest and most interesting contemporary examples around, including Oatly, BrewDog, COPA90, Tony’s Chocolonely, Mailchimp and Xiaomi, and looks at the strategic principles that each follows, the media behaviours they practice and draws conclusions about what these challenger types have in common when it comes to marketing behaviour.

At the launch event, Eileen Ooi, MD, PHD Malaysia set the stage by emphasizing on PHD’s commitment to thought-leadership and innovation and the importance of going beyond one-dimensional conversations around challenger thinking to understand the new wave of challengers better.

Kiron Kesav, GM – Strategy & Platforms, PHD Malaysia delivered the keynote presentation on Overthrow II, highlighting the 10 different challenger types & the 5 key challenger principles that all the challenger brands follow and how these principles can be applied by Malaysian brands.

The event also saw a line-up of Malaysian challenger brands and thinkers. Chery Anne Low, Co-Founder, Nude the ZERO WASTE Store spoke about ‘Challenging through a strong sense of purpose’ while sharing the story of how her brand was born.

Amy Zheng, CEO & Co-Founder, Amazin’ Graze, shared her thoughts on ‘Challenging by redefining the boundaries & practices of a category’ and how she and her team adopts challenger thinking at her organization.

Guests also heard from Malek Ali, Founder, BFM, who shared his ‘CV (Challenger Vitae)’ on stage giving a glimpse into his life as a challenger, while sharing his thoughts on “What it means to live and breathe a challenger mindset’.

Following the speakers, Kesav moderated two power panel discussions. First on the topic, “Satiating the super-consumers in the age of challenger thinking” alongside Rishi Bedi, VP & Business Head – SEA, Japan and Korea, InMobi, Hitesh Chawla, CEO, Silverpush and Malek Ali.

The panel touched on how as brands keep challenging the status quo and deliver one technological disruption after the other, it is giving rise to a wave of Superconsumers, for whom, yesterday’s innovations are basic now, and they look forward to the next wave of advancements and how can brands continue to satiate the needs of these Superconsumers?

The second power panel was on the topic, ‘Revolution vs Evolution – is there a need to balance the two as more marketers adopt to challenger thinking’ alongside Piper Bledsoe.

Manager, Solutions Engineering, Amobee, Priyanka Bajaj, Director, Regional Sales – SEA and North Asia & Amy Zheng. The panel discussed the importance of balancing revolution & evolution as brands adopt challenger thinking mindsets.

The final segment of the event saw PHD Malaysia recognize challenger icons in Malaysia, identified through an open-ended survey with a sample size of more than 1000 respondents done in partnership with

Challenger brands across 5 different categories were identified:

Challenging through Technology & Innovation – Huawei

Challenging through Product – Safi

Challenging through Creativity – Samsung

Challenging through Attitude – Ikea

Challenging by being Closer to the Community – Nestle

Overthrow II is available to purchase now via Amazon and

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