The Teachings of Sun Tzu - Martin Puris
As you perhaps know, 2500 years ago, give or take, a Chinese philosopher-General named Sun Tzu allegedly wrote a book called The Art of War. I say allegedly because there’s no proof that he actually wrote it. Nevertheless, it’s a book much beloved by Wall Street people, business school professors, military colleges, generals of the army, CEOs who fancy themselves generals, and a whole cottage industry of motivational speakers.
I have to say that I am not a big fan of the Sun Tzu philosophy of life. I find the idea that one should live one’s business life in a perpetual state of war unpleasant. However, there are elements of the Sun Tzu philosophy that are worth applying, particularly given the herculean task that lies ahead of you.
A bit of background information on the resistance you’re certain to face and the obstacles you’ll have to overcome on your way to achieving change.
The absence of Big Ideas and Big Thinking in marketing communications is actually symptomatic of a much deeper problem. The advertising business isn’t the only category that’s gone off the creative rails. Allowing for a few notable exceptions, volumes have been written about the appalling decline of Big Ideas and creative thinking in corporate America — sacrifices on the alter of quarterly earnings.
In the mid-seventies, when American companies shifted their focus from consumers to Wall Street, from top-line growth to bottom-line growth, from product innovation to maximizing shareholder value, by definition marketing lost its place and much of its influence — and the advertising business, at the whip end of all that, suffered severe collateral damage. By any rational measurement, the shift has been a serious mistake for all concerned.
Which brings us to the ugly question that’s been in the room all along: are you absolutely certain that your creative and marketing teams can up their game? Put sentiment and wishful thinking aside, this is the time for honest, objective analysis.
No coach ever made it to the Super Bowl with the wrong team. You will never get to the Renaissance with the wrong talent.
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