War terms in business


We all know that war is business but business is also war – against competitors, fighting for customers. Many war metaphors are used in business. See some below

  • companies have campaigns and strategies
  • if a company needs to restructure, they often bring in a hired gun/assassin at a huge fee to make the unpopular decisions, cut down staff and then leave once it’s done
  • companies with lower budgets often use non-traditional means of advertising – so-called guerrilla marketing. This could be flash mobs, ads on bicycles, flyers, social media, in the streets, on beaches and in parks. There are four types of guerrilla marketing and two of them are called ambush marketing and stealth marketing
  • industrial espionage
  • they often need to attack bad sales figures in order to improve them
  • there is often economic conflict.
  • companies often steal market territory and fight about terrain

Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, references Cesare Borgia and his strategies of war (I have written about this previously when writing about the Borgias) is often read by business executives. Read Machiavelli about terrain and you can see how this can be applied to the market, to commerce, to business.

He [the prince] should, therefore, never take his mind from this exercise of war, and in peacetime he must train himself more than in time of war.…He must also learn the nature of the terrain, and know how mountains slope, how valleys open, how plains lie, and understand the nature of rivers and swamps; and he should devote much attention to such activities. Such knowledge is useful in two ways: first, one learns to know one’s own country and can better understand how to defend it; second, with the knowledge and experience of the terrain, one can easily comprehend the characteristics of any other terrain that it is necessary to explore for the first time.…A prince who lacks this ability lacks the most important quality in a leader; because this skill teaches you to find the enemy, choose a campsite, lead troops, organize them for battle, and besiege towns to your advantage.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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