Napoleon and Waterloo anniversary is a lesson in marketing

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

18 June 2015


Think strategically


So today is the day when thousands of reenactors portray the famous battle where Napoleon met his end and began his exit from the political scene. Waterloo has become a catch phrase for eventual downfall and was even made famous by ABBA.



Some time ago, I wrote an article on Napoleon (you can read my article about Napoleon’s genius in marketing here) or Download the PDF of that article here (Napoleon May Turn Out To be The Greatest Marketing Strategist of all time – Stealing Share) where I focused on his wisdom when it came to understanding human behavior. I posit that Napoleon might well have been the world’s greatest marketer and brand man. I revisited it today and have come to believe that every marketer and brand manager should hang a copy of his axioms on their wall.Napoleon

I find it amusing that the banter on talk radio when they mention Napoleon today is all about casting him as either a villain and forerunner to Hitler or as a hero akin to Augustus Caesar. To me, I don’t care too much either way. What I do know for sure is that Napoleon’s legacy is much bigger than Waterloo and the Napoleonic code.

Napoleon understood brand

Napoleon understood human beings and he ruthlessly exploited those understandings.

Marketers today need the same discipline that Napoleon held so dear. A laser focus on what was important as opposed to what seems to be interesting and of the moment. He certainly understood that the enemy of great is not what is bad but instead is what we usually consider good. Settling for good rather than stretching for great is the seat of mediocrity in brand marketing today and is therefore the advantage those that really get it.

One of his quotes (which my earlier article cites) is his admonition to “never wake me for good news” is a perfect example of his understanding of what today we might call SPAM. But then Napoleon always said to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. How is that for a great idea?


See more posts in the following related categories: Napoleon on brand Napoleon Waterloo


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