“The Art of War is of vital importance to the state. It’s a matter of life or death, a road to either safety or ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected”. – Sun Tzu
After reading yet another Al Ries book, Positioning, I would rather argue that: “the art of Positioning is of vital importance to your brand. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected”. -Sun Tzomas
Positioning your brand and the core principles of warfare as handed down by Sun Tzu in the Art of War are extremely similar, or in fact, identical. The core lesson in the Art of War is to attack the enemy where he’s weak. I am going to talk a fair bit of the Carthaginian commander Hannibal Barca in this post to illustrate all my points. Hannibal fought the Romans during the Punic Wars, around 218 BC (he’s the dude who famously crossed the Alps with his elephants).
“in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and strike at what is weak”. – Sun Tzu
Hannibal, like Sun Tzu, also realized the core principles of warfare; to attack the enemy where he is weak, which in ancient warfare was always in the flank. On his way to conquer Rome, he faced an army consisting of Celtic tribesmen opposing him during a crossing of the river Rhone. Instead of facing the enemy head-on where he was strong, Hannibal sent his commander Hanno upstream to cross the river in secret and fall upon the opposing Celts from their rear, who quickly routed them and gave Hannibal another victory. During the later battle of Cannae, Hannibal yet again lured the enemy (consisting of the entire Roman army) in by feigning weakness in his center, after which he fell upon the enemy in his flank and rear with his heavy cavalry, slaughtering some 44 000 of the 50 000 strong Roman army, losing only 6 000 men in the process. Whenever Hannibal fought, he achieved victory by being strong where the enemy was weak, and such a modus operandi is also the key to the battle of successful marketing and positioning. More