Taking On Goliath

Long Shot To Hotshot

Papa John's International

Founder: John Schnatter

Founded: 1984

The competition: Pizza Hut, Domino's

Strategy: Made taste an issue in ads; used Pizza-Hut-cofounder-turned-Papa-John's-franchisee Frank Carney as symbol of new allegiances.

Take that! In 1998, Papa John's topped $1 billion in systemwide sales.

Netscape Communications

Founders: Jim Clark & Mark Andreesen

Founded: 1994

The competition: Microsoft

Strategy: Devised marketing, product development and distribution tactics to make the competition irrelevant; key figure in government's antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft.

Take that! $447.8 million in sales for fiscal 1998 (10-month year); company acquired last year by America Online for $4.2 billion; at press time, antitrust suit still pending.

Ben & Jerry's

Founders: Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenberg

Founded: 1978

The competition: Haagen-Dazs

Strategy: When Haagen-Dazs tried to muscle Ben & Jerry's out of supermarket distribution in 1984, the Vermont company filed suit and launched its famous "What's the Doughboy Afraid of?" campaign (in reference to Haagen-Dazs' former parent company Pillsbury).

Take that! In 1998, Ben & Jerry's sold $209 million worth of ice cream and frozen yogurt, largely through supermarkets.

Southwest Airlines

Founders: Herb Kelleher & Rollin King

Founded: 1971

The competition: American, United and other major airlines

Strategy: Took flight by focusing on profitable routes; created supermotivated work force capable of breaking through industry-accepted barriers to efficiency and customer service.

Take that! 1998 sales topped $4 billion.

Contact Sources

Data Staar, (806) 372-5151

Just For Feet, (205)408-3000, http://www.feet.com

Papi Inc., (212)741-3978

Stonewall Gourmet Coffee Co., (888)STONEWAL, http://www.stonewallinc.com

Tucker's Best Brands Plus, (901)298-8500, http://www.bestbrandsplus.com

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This article was originally published in the June 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Taking On Goliath.

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