Vennli loves helping companies create and execute customer-driven growth strategies. I mean, we really love it.
By day, we live to help companies differentiate in their fast-paced, competitive markets in order to win their customers’ choice. But by night, we’re rooting for Daenarys Stormborn to whisper dracarys or Arya to cross another name off her list.
Yes, it may be a little nerdy, but we love Game of Thrones. In fact, our conference rooms have Game of Thrones names (no joke).
We know we’re not alone. Game of Thrones has record-setting viewership. There are a lot of reasons to watch Game of Thrones, but we at Vennli find it so compelling because it proves, in the most wonderfully brutal fashion, the universal importance of strategy.
Game of Thrones is a pop culture phenomenon, and it’s based on a constantly shifting situation that requires high stakes strategy. The real focus of Game of Thrones is not really its characters but instead on the nature of strategy.
Vennli’s three circle analysis is a simple way to visualize strategic strengths and weaknesses for companies. It helps companies confirm their competitive advantages and discover blind spots by allowing them to see themselves (and their competition!) from the viewpoint of their customers. The goal is to successfully win the customer’s choice.
Because in business, you win the customer’s choice or you eventually die. It may not be as bloody as a Game of Thrones showdown, but it can be just as brutal.
Game of Thrones is infamous for ruthlessly showing the outcomes of a well-developed – or sometimes flawed – strategy. No deus ex machina fairytale here to save your favorite character (though we can still hope – Jon Snow, you have to be not dead). Game of Thrones forces us to watch while our favorite characters make tactical mistakes and suffer the consequences.
This is something we can all relate to. As business leaders, every day you are responsible for making decisions that impact the future growth of your business.
How well do you fare? Which Game of Thrones character are you most like? Take the quiz.
Advanced Level Strategist: Varys, the Spider.
“Any fool with a bit of luck can find himself born into power. But earning it for yourself, that takes work.�?
You understand the power of knowledge. You are vigilant and always in the know, tuned into the “whispers�? around you. You require constant, accurate data to confidently make smart decisions. By having the intel on your competition and your customers, you nimbly side-step errors and ensure your own success. A strategist with Varys’ information allows you not only the insight to see exactly what the kingdom needs, but the ability to realize it. With an understanding of all three circles, you can play the game of Thrones and win.
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Customer-focused but Lacking Competitive Intel: Renly
“A man without friends is a man without power.�?
You may understand your customer… but your lack of understanding of your competition could prove fatal. Even if you do everything else right by your customer - you talk to them, understand what they want, and they love you for it – you could still lose. Don't forget to watch out for that shadowy competition. They could strike when you least expect it.
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Competitive but Lacking Customer Insights: Daenerys
“I will take what is mine with fire and blood.�?
Dany understands her competition, and she trounces them soundly everywhere she goes. But she’s deaf to what her “customers�? want. In fact, she isn’t even listening to the right customer anyway, and doesn’t really understand what she’s trying to give them. She has a great “product�? (dragons are unparalleled when it comes to differentiation), but without understanding her customer she ends up lost and focusing on the things that don’t really matter (like, the wrong country – what, what, what are you doing in Mereen?!). And the next thing you know, your whole kingdom is in revolt. You have to understand your customer in order to lead them where you want them to go.
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Novice: Jon Snow
“Never forget who you are, for the rest of the world will not.�?
No matter how good your product is, no matter how right your cause, if you alienate your customer and ignore your competition, bad things happen. We won’t say any more, because of the potential spoilers. But seriously, you know nothing, Jon Snow.
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