Robert Lingard in his latest work “Sabotage & Subversion” talks about the principles any Startup or SME can follow to make a better, well-informed and strategic business decision. We recently interviewed Robert to know more about the principles prescribed in his book.
Robert, Thank You for talking to us. Can you tell us, what inspired you to write this book?
The idea of writing this book came from an intersection of events. The first one was my entrepreneurial journey, my concerns and the ones of the entrepreneurs I met along the year. The second inspiration came from the celebration of the centenary of the end of World War I. In particular on the Italian front and during the last year of the conflict, World War I represented an important breakthrough on how the modern symmetric war would be fought, with principles that surely might be translated to the cynicism of a business environment.
How different is this book from your previous book, Brand To Sell: Ignite Your Influence and Build Your Brand with Broadcast PR?
Brand To Sell: Ignite Your Influence and Build Your Brand with Broadcast PR is the first book in the world to be published regarding the niche of Broadcast PR. It’s a procedural guide for entrepreneurs on their first approach to the industry, but also for entrepreneurs who couldn’t figure out why the broadcast PR campaign they invested in with a significant amount of resources didn’t bring the results promised. Sabotage & Subversion: The 10 Principles of Business Guerrilla is more a strategic book based on the classics of traditional and asymmetric warfare. Being that guerrilla is a military strategy based on attack and propaganda, the parallels to Broadcast PR and the building of consensus are inevitable.
What were the challenges (if any) that you faced in writing this book?
Sabotage & Subversion took me around six months of research after the normal “working” hours of the day and demanded the ability to discriminate among all the information collected. Although the book could be considered a step-by-step guide in terms of mindset and strategy development, four chapters have been voluntarily omitted. When you write a business book, you necessarily partially disclose the way you proceed in doing what you do, and you must be extremely careful not to give away knowledge that could be used against you.
What, according to you, is Marketing? Do you think that people in general use social media platforms to market their products/services effectively, or are they just obsessed with likes?
Startups and SMEs are often misled by the marketing tactics used by business giants. However, while business giants focus on building awareness, winning trophies and awards, etc., your primary concern as a startup or an SME is to seal the deal and secure a client. Brand building for startups and SMEs isn’t based on awareness campaigns, out of target virality campaigns, but on direct marketing and strong positioning.
In the fourth chapter of “The Principle of Guerrilla,” you talk about “translating a guerrilla military strategy into the development of a business.” Kindly explain this for our readers.
The book was conceived out of a simple question. If I do not have the marketing budget of business giants, how can I survive first and scale as a consequence? Business giants are always on the defence as they need to protect themselves from losing a position of leadership. Startups and SMEs, instead, go on the attack. Guerrilla is about carefully budgeting resources, adjusting to the moves of the enemy, constant tactical sabotage, consensus building, and planned effective propaganda based on news and controversy. All principles that should sustain a brand building programme.
2019 is just around the corner. What suggestions you would like to give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
In the following year, the world economy could fall once again, and probably in a worse way than it did in 2008. Thus, the urgency of mastering the art of guerrilla and preparing for the attack when everyone else will stay on the defence is compelling.