This is a different approach to the Red Team Mindset. Written by "Jon" a Senior Brand Strategist and Planner in the Boston area, this post presents another side of the Guerrilla Red Team.
To be clear, I’m not a Red Teamer. I’ve never been contracted to security test a facility, office, or database. But, everyday I go to work, I red team. It’s absolutely integral to what I do and I make my teammates read the Red Teams book. I don’t hack systems or facilities, but I hack people everyday. I’m a marketing strategist by trade.
At first glance, marketing and red teaming might seem worlds away from each other, but the mindset often mirrors each other. As a marketing strategist, my job is to fully understand the brand, category, and consumer for any client that I work with. My team fully immerses ourselves into qualitative and quantitative research around these three verticals. With the goal being to drill down to the core strengths, weaknesses, and unique attributes of the client and the consumer and find the overlaps between the two.
To do this we gather industry research, interview stakeholders and customers, survey consumers, and review the competitive landscape. This is our version of reconnaissance. After we’ve gathered all of this data we start analyzing. Trying to see the whole picture that those verticals create, find the themes that run through them, and begin identifying voids in the market or in the way the marketing has been done. After full analyzing the research we’ve collected we poke holes wherever we can, getting input not only from our teammates, but other coworkers to see what holds water and what leaks like a sieve. Once we’ve found the insights that hold a truth for the brand and consumer it’s time to develop the strategy that will drive the rest of the project. It needs to not only synthesize what we learned, but communicate it in actionable way for all the departments to act in unison on the strategy. This is our marketing equivalent of the mission plan. Then it’s time to execute. For us this can mean coming up with a marketing campaign, launching a product, or rebranding a company.
Throughout the entire process, the strategy team is representing the consumer of whichever company we’re working with. We put ourselves in their mindset to see how they might interpret what we create, or how they see our client. Everything we do is put through this lens. It’s seeing the business world through an adversarial mindset. When we fail to do so, we usually fail at our project. It’s a harsh reality of failing to consider a problem from the unexpected angles. You try not to learn it more than you have to, but a reminder failure often sneaks in when we become complacent or overly confident.
Red Teaming to me is a mindset. It’s a willingness to think about things in a different way, in a way that might not align with your own opinion and ideas, but in the end only makes a plan stronger or proves you need a new plan. I’m a marketing red teamer.