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Why I use BrandPRO and BOSS in My Marketing Classes

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Segmentation, targeting, positioning… How do you get beyond theory, and help students really experience these marketing concpets? Professor Edgar Leonard, who teaches marketing at Emory University's Goizueta Business School, is using BrandPRO and BOSS at the end of his classes to give the students a real taste of marketing strategies - in addition to readings, cases, and outside speakers. Simulations, he says, allow students to “experience a broad range of strategy options” and prepares them to be involved in client facing projects.

Easy-to-use yet complex in strategy

He chose those two simulation games because they are “easy to use and to learn”, but possess, at the same time, “a reasonable level of complexity”. “It allows students to really get into the process of crafting multiple strategic options, selecting a strategy and implementing it”, he sums up. Leonard requires his students to play BrandPRO at the end of his Core Marketing class, in order for them to link marketing strategies (segmentation, targeting, positioning) and tactics (building, communicating and distributing value).

“Brand Pro is an excellent way to do this in one 3-hour class session”, he assesses. BOSS, on the other hand, is used at the end of his Marketing Strategy class, as the final simulation. “I like the way it gets students to consider the dynamic nature of strategy, the importance of simultaneously considering low cost and adding value that the customer wants. Also, the notion of expanding across existing segment boundaries is a powerful learning. Many students think we should segment more, but they do not consider the costs. BOSS is a great way for them to experience this lesson”, he says.

Focus on customers

Those two simulation games are also particularly helpful for students, as it forces them to focus on customers and on building multiple sets of strategic options to consider. “They get people to think about extending the number of options from which one could choose. The biggest challenge in creating marketing strategies is developing a robust set of options. These simulations help students to see that that this is a necessary step to successfully craft winning strategies.” Another key asset of BOSS and BrandPRO is, according to Leonard, their flexibility. “They are great in that they accommodate a very broad array of levels of prior knowledge”, he says, arguing that he’s been able to use them with BBA, MBA or Executive MBA students. “Especially in my Executive MBA classes, I might have someone who is a CMO, and others who have never been involved in marketing much less analyzing markets or implementing marketing strategies. With Brand PRO or BOSS, students learn and are more skilled, no matter where they start.”

Engaging students

Meanwhile, those moments are playful: students get engaged, discuss together. “This leads to great and more fruitful discussions about strategic frameworks and processes. The students get very excited to see the outcome, and they all want to present their team story and results at the end of the simulation! ” Leonard concludes by saying that simulations engage his students “in a way that cases never do, because the decisions are dynamic, and students have to look over time”. Also, “when you use cases, you study one issue at a time. In simulations, you weigh a number of issues at the same time. And you get to take decisions and see the results of those decisions. It’s much more like in real life !”


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