Napoleon Bonaparte is one of my all-time heroes. First name on my dream dinner table list.
He was fearless.
He implemented liberal reforms, including religious toleration, establishing legal equality, and legalising divorce.
He established the Napoleonic Code, which gave post-revolutionary France its first coherent set of laws.
And contrary to popular belief too, the perpetual underdog, the reluctant warrior was constantly dragged into conflicts with endless shifting alliances of enemies who simply could not sleep at night with such a low-born disruptive genius on the French throne.
Now, one of the typically loaded things he said once was this:
Ability is nothing without opportunity.
And he knew that from personal experience.
He had all the ability in the world but if he hadn’t been given the chance to shine (made possible by the Revolution), he would never have risen so high; yes, as soon as he got to the top, he built his Grande Armée on a system of meritocracy whereby blacksmith’s sons could one day become Field Marshalls.
Okay, so what has this got to do with your website, or even digital marketing for that matter?
In a word:
Let’s take — for me — Napoleon’s finest hour and The Battle of Austerlitz (1805) to illustrate what I mean and then we’ll draw all the modern parallels you need.
At Austerlitz, Napoleon was — as usual — outnumbered: Napoleon fielded around 70,000 troops, while his enemies had closer to 90,000.
In business terms, he was the upstart on the block.
So what did he do?
First, he cleverly convinced his enemies that he was weaker than he really with an insincere proposal of peace negotiations.
Then, when his allies decided to attack, which he knew was coming, he knew when and where they’d strike and blew them away with an attack of his own at their weakest point.
The victory sent shockwaves through the aristocratic palaces of Europe.
But why was his strategy such a work of genius?
Napoleon’s mantra was always,“faire son theme en deux facons,” roughly translated as:
"To proceed with two options"
Sure, he had to outmanoeuvre the advances of the allies on the day.
But the “faire son theme en deux facons” strategy he conceived was ready to roll out, day in, day out.
Okay, so you’re probably not the next Napoleon of digital marketing.
You’re too busy running your own Empire for a start.
The key takeaway here is clear.
Napoleon ‘decisively’ won the battle against overwhelming odds because he had a well defined 2 Step Strategy:
- Aggressive out manoeuvring.
- Surrounding his enemies before they even knew he was coming.
And all he did was apply this strategy over and over again (and when he didn’t, it didn’t work out for him so well).