War Gaming

War gaming allows smart, experienced brand managers and marketing executives to gain important and often surprising insights about their own companies and brands and those of their competitors. They might discover that one of their strategies has a fatal flaw. Or they might discover a competitor’s hidden weakness. They could discover that their competitors have more resources or possible competitive moves than then had previously anticipated. And sometimes they discover that their current strategies are just not aggressive enough.

Additional benefits of this workshop include:

  • Increased understanding of the competitive environment
  • Viewing the market from a perspective external to the brand and company
  • Identifying missing intelligence
  • Improving teamwork

The Blake Project process is a follows:

  • Teams are pre-assigned prior to the workshop. There is usually a client brand team, one to three competitor brand teams (depending on the number of client workshop participants) and a market team. The client brand team and the competitor brand teams develop and execute competitive marketing strategies (including brand positioning strategies), while the market team acts as the market in reacting to the strategies presented to them. Each team is 4 to 6 people in size.
  • Each team collects and reviews appropriate company and competitive information and market data prior to the workshop. We will provide templates for the data/information collection.
  • Each team then develops its strategies (including two to three different brand positioning strategies) prior to the workshop. This includes anticipating competitive threats and attack strategies. Again, we will provide templates for this.
  • In the workshop itself, the teams will be given an opportunity to review the information and strategies once again before beginning the role-playing.
  • Next comes the role playing itself in which each team presents its strategies and product/marketing approaches to the market
  • The market then responds to what it has been presented by making purchasing and other decisions
  • All teams then debrief the results and recalibrate their thinking accordingly
  • A second round of role playing is then played using the second brand positioning strategy
  • The market responds to the new strategies with its purchase and other decisions
  • All teams then debrief the results and recalibrate their thinking accordingly
  • Time permitting, a third round is played using a third brand positioning strategy
  • At the end of the day, the client teams come together to identify key takeaways/lessons learned from the day

We will share information on different marketing strategies (deterrence strategies, pre-emptive strikes, frontal attacks, flanking attacks, etc.) prior to the workshop. We will also provide templates for the client teams to perform aSWOT(strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of their brand and those of their competitors. We will provide brand positioning templates and finally, we will provide a set of questions (such as “Where do they fall out of favor with customers and how can you turn that against them?,” “What could you improve on that they could not?” and “What research are they lacking?”) that can help them in their thinking.

The bottom line: this workshop helps marketers to view the marketplace differently and better understand their brand’s weaknesses. It opens their eyes to what the competition might try next and it helps them to avoid worst case scenarios and win in the most likely scenarios. This is a useful precursor to the brand positioning workshop.