Marketing Lessons From An Ex-Marine

When Marines get rifle lessons, they learn the acronym BRASS: Breathe, Relax, Aim, Squeeze, Shoot. Casey Jones, who has been both a Marine and VP-global marketing at Dell, discusses how those military lesson make sense when it comes to marketing. No surprise: he thinks marketers do a lot of shooting without aiming. Jones offers a lot of good advice, including this:

Breathe: Set aside time every week to focus on what your brand is communicating. Relax: Remember that the brand will not fail if you pause for a moment to focus. It may fail, however, if you continue to waste marketing shots that are off-target.

He also recommends that all messaging briefs contain these four elements:

  1. A clear definition of the target audience
  2. A clear statement of the audience’s current mental and emotional perceptions of your brand.
  3. A short statement of the “desired” perceptual state — one that is reasonable given your budget.
  4. A clear list of the minimum points you must communicate in order to achieve your goal.

The bottom line: Don’t forget to breathe, relax, and aim.

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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