It's interesting how the traditional brand economy uses such militaristic words to convey action - think words like "exploit", "dominate", "conquer", "attack" or to describe the marketplace as "the next battlefield", "stuck in the trenches", "our sales artillery" or "hand to hand combat".
Traditional media and marketing is a very "command and control" game played out by people who excel at this approach.
Given marketing's rise during the first two world wars, it's perhaps not surprising that this war mongering language has become part of popular brand vernacular. The challenge now is that this type of battle requires a peacetime commander (or at least a more guerrilla approach) with a much different set of management skills than the brand Pattons, MacArthurs or Montgomerys of the world. A little less control and more action and empowerment. A little more connected to the ground troops and less aloof, a little more collaborative and less combative, a little more likable than feared and a little more charming and intelligent and less authoritarian and competent.
The new brand arsenal (if you'd like to call it that) requires not just a paint job but a full renovation of the marketing department. It's a mindset shift not easily achieved by the management people that thrived during wartime command. Some are able to manage that balance of skills - they are likely the pragmatists that were able to modulate their behaviours based on what was in front of them. Many are still living by the rules of high alert, brand wargames and cannot or will not change their behaviors despite evidence to the contrary route of action.
We've pulled together our top 13 things that have changed to make marketeers become effective executives today vs. even a decade ago. Each one, likely deserves its own book chapter or at minimum, blog post. From the strategy and culture, to the execution and tactics - a person that thrived as a CMO in 1990 is less likely to succeed in 2010 based on the inability or lack of inclination to get closer to a much more activist, participative customer.
So why do old tired ways of wartime marketing continue, perhaps it was famed Greek playwright, Aeschylus, who said it best "in war, truth is the first casualty."