“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” Luckily, the opposite is true when you’re vying for the crown of brand optimization and superb customer experience. And I’m here to make the case that it’s not even true in Game of Thrones. This week’s blog is all about the biggest losers who win. From bad brand strategy ideas to Braavosi blunders, sometimes the losers come out on top.
One of the least loved and most ruthless players in The Game of Thrones, Cersei Lannister still seems to always get a losing deal. Nevertheless, she holds onto that throne and has yet to actually let it go. Now, Cersei is mostly awful and I’m not rooting for her. But in terms of plans gone awry Cersei is leading the pack. She has faced the worst of the worst: war waged against her family, imprisonment by the High Sparrow, the loss of all of her children, and those tragedies are just scraping the surface. But where is she in season 7? The Iron Throne.
Every failure that she experiences teaches her how to re-strategize. Yes, each time she revises her strategy she gets more cruel and evil, but that’s her goal. Her failures ultimately inform her ascension to the Iron Throne.
Samwell Does Well
Samwell’s not really a loser at all, except that he’s setup that way in the beginning of the series. He is disinherited for not being tough enough, made fun of at the Wall, and generally afraid of a lot. It turns out though that when put to the test he is brilliant, resourceful, creative, and brave. He’s a hero to Gilly, Jorah, and all of humanity by figuring out how to kill the White Walkers. Without Sam, the Seven Kingdoms would be a lot worse off.
But Sam only discovered his strengths through failures. He tried to be a fighter and live up to his father’s expectations, but when that fails to work out he finds his path in becoming a rebel Maester who’s probably going to save the world.
Wait, Isn’t This About Marketing?
These aren’t the only characters in Game of Thrones who fail their way to success, just a small sampling to demonstrate a point. In marketing these instances are endless. It’s a challenge to constantly reinvent the wheel, reaching new customers in new ways. Sometimes you reach your audience, and sometimes you don’t. But, as long as you use your failures to collect data, learn what works, and readjust, you can turn those failures in wins. I wonder which game of thrones character has learned the most from their failures… We’ll see next year!