Defying Essentials for Brands: Marketing Warfare


The Iconic Group LLC Presents “Rules to Brand By”: Covering Branding, Marketing and Publicity Techniques for all ICONS  

Defying Essentials for Brands: Marketing Warfare

Written by: The Branding Icon: Pamela Rosara Jones  

Developed by Al Ries and Jack Trout in 1986, Marketing Warfare can be used as an additional tool to your already strategized marketing plan. You may find that adding additional techniques can further entice your marketing to a strategy that improves not only your audience but also your bottom line. That is why considering marketing warfare can be useful in staying ahead of competitors and standing out in your industry.

Marketing Warfare can be broken down into four strategies.

Flanking: Companies that are interested in this technique take on the responsibility of expanding to those markets that have not been captured by their industry competitors. You can sneak into the market by implementing a lower cost than your competitors or by offering something that they do not provide. Customizing this option for the market is a perfect way to get your brand noticed and to gain consumer loyalty.

Defensive: Companies that employ this technique usually are the market leaders in their industry. They have their eye on the competitors and will regularly showcase their competitors lack of skill, niche, or offerings to make them look better to consumers. We often see these defensive branding tactics with popular brands like Geico, Progressive, and All State Insurance. You may even see this with popular grocery store chains or fast food restaurants. Leaders in the industry, with preparation and strategy, can use this tactic when brand loyalty is high, and they want it to stay that way.


: a person who engages in irregular warfare especially as a member of an independent unit carrying out harassment and sabotage

Those that employ this technique repeatedly attack their opponent, retreat and strike again until they have manifested the overall goal of capturing the territory or audience they desire. With the progression of technology and the love for micro-moments, you can guarantee that there is a new era of competition in modern day marketing. Staying ahead of the curve and only using this technique when necessary can show and prove that your brand is the principal force to be reckoned with.


So you may not be the leader in your market, and that’s ok. There's a tactic for that. Usually, the runner-up or the 2nd and 3rd most popular market leaders use this tactic to maintain a competitive edge. Accepting that you are not in the #1 spot and pulling it all the stops to set up offensive tactics to defensive strategies from other competitors could potentially grow your brand audience.

All of these tactics can be used at various times during a marketing campaign.

Pamela Jones

Business Writer and Strategist