It is a fact that more wars have been won with clever propaganda than with blunt force bullets. Destroying a man’s will to fight is not only more humane, but a heck of a lot more effective than mobilizing the men and machinery to try and kill him. Disinformation and deception (fake codes, tactical feints) also play a major military role, confusing an enemy into allocating resources where they are wasted, rather than where they are needed.
I’ve always believed that this same tactical effectiveness can hold true in business. Don’t get me wrong - I’m not advocating outright lying. But conversely, I also don’t advocate that you have to provide complete answers to every question that is posed to you.
Put simply, it is your competitor’s obligation to figure out what you are doing, not yours. Believable disinformation and logical deception will go a long way in providing you with a leg up.
For example, you might choose to make a small external PR event about a huge internal accomplishment. You may hint to the industry that you are exploring markets that you have absolutely no intention of entering. Or let it slip that supply issues are forcing you to raise prices, when you are (in reality) ready to lower them.
The basic message is that if your competitors are stupid enough to believe everything they hear, let them! Omit, spin, and embellish whenever you can. If you’re smart about it, you’ll keep your competitors off-balance and vulnerable. If you’re outright lucky, you’ll instill fear and uncertainty, and weaken their ability to be a competitive threat.
TORPEDOES IN THE WATER
How many “hits” can your company take?
PROPAGANDA, DISINFORMATION, DECEPTION (Use ‘em!)
Your competitors will believe most of what they hear
You have enough to worry about – don’t shoot yourself in the foot
DISRUPT THE ENEMY’S SUPPLY LINES
Cut off the “fuel” that feeds your competitor’s business