In “The 48 Laws of Power, author Robert Greene breaks history down into 48 laws that try to help us understand how we can personally acquire power, while not gettting manipulated by others. It is interesting to look at something like power because no one likes being powerless and it is neither good nor evil. It is how you choose to use that power once you have it that is the major question.
From reading this book, Greene wants us to think of power-play as a game. This book has the intention of teaching about the concept of power in general, or study and reflect on ideas to truly understand the people and world that we live in.
When it comes to PR and Marketing, for lack of better words, it is about survival. How to emerge in a market that has already existed for quite some time and be considered to be one of the best. How do companies create something so unique that consumers and investors are interested in purchasing their product of service. As mentioned before, power is neither good nor bad, but what comes with power is also authority. Ultimately, once a company established authority among the people in their niche, it is smooth sailing from there.
In this article, we will look at
- Summary of the Laws of Power
- How they can help startups with PR and Marketing
While some of the laws that Greene talks about may not directly be related to PR and Marketing, it is very important to take note that they definitely have some hint of truth and can be used as a building block for creating an effective marketing strategy.
Summary of the Laws of Power
1) Saying Less Can Leverage Power and Demonstrate Authority
Robert Greene is quick to point out in the book how saying less is always a much more powerful tactic. That is to say, the less a person has to say, the less common they will appear and this usually results in having more control.
In this respect, even the most boring or obvious statement can seem original if the punch-line is open-ended or vague. On the other hand, the more people have to say, the more likely they will be to either say something foolish or something that might give away some kind of leverage.
For this reason, Greene encourages readers to keep what they have to say to a minimum and try to express your point of view in just a few short words. You can save face through this method but saying less is generally a slight tactic that can intimate the other party somewhat.
As you can imagine, this is a fantastic lesson for entrepreneurs and startups. Whether this communication involves dealing with employees, business partners or even PR issue, saying less is a useful way to demonstrate authority and retain a sense of power that will benefit the business.
2) Demonstrating Faults to Help Build a Cohesive Team
According to the author, it’s never a good idea to appear better than others. What’s more, it’s especially dangerous to appear invincible or without any flaws. The truth is, envy is known to create opposition or enemies and this also suggests weakness, for everyone knows that there is no such things as perfect.
With this in mind, Greene says it’s best to display defects from time to time and admit to faults whenever necessary. Taking this approach if more likely to deflect envy and enable one to seem more approachable. Needless to say, creating an illusion of perfection is just bad for PR and demonstrating this human element is important for startup leaders that want to nurture a cohesive team.
3) Assuming Weakness and Demonstrating Respect
In the 48 laws of power, Robert explains the importance of respect and why assuming that another person is less important can prove detrimental. In some instances, people may not be fast to respond and on some occasions, there might be a reason for appearing weak in some form.
Either way, assuming weakness is sure to come across when dealing with this person and only likely to cause offense. As a result, the response can be powerful or ugly and not necessary in the first place.
Instead, startups will be much better served to treat every individual with respect and this is always likely to improve PR proceedings. Moreover, if you are not happy with a person or situation, it’s better to walk away from a situation rather than unnecessarily cause offense.
4) Stand Out and Stop Sitting on the Fence
Throughout his lessons, Robert Greene also talks about the role of society and how difficult it can be to create a unique identify when everything and everyone is trying to shape it for you.
In the end, he says that most people or businesses ended complying to these peer-like pressures and this is essentially the equivalent of ‘sitting on the fence’. More specifically, Greene points out that no successful company image has commanded attention by allowing society to control it.
In other words, startups should make every effort to stand out and take risks, even if they might upset people along the way. Now, that’s not to say you can ignore the responsibilities of PR but rather to highlight the power of creating a strong character for a brand.
5) Wasting Time on the Behavior of Others
One of the most interesting lessons in the book is concerned with judgment and assessment. As a rule, this lesson explains how looking at the world objectively is a very powerful trait. For example, instead of judging an unethical person, Greene says that it serves much better to acknowledge this behavior but avoid spending any amount of thought on it.
For startups, this is quite an important lesson in that it reminds us that there is always a choice to be made but we are always in full control of what that choice may be.
6) Having Patience in the Long-Game
In some instances, the author says it’s better to turn down opportunities in order to focus on the task at hand. At the same time, the patience to focus on this task is invaluable, for this patience will inevitably allow the business to prosper.
It’s true, patience is a virtue and many startups fail for the fact that they either rush forward too quickly or simply give up too easily. Short-term gain is but a fleeting moment compared to the rewards and success that come with playing the long game.
7) Putting in the Time and Learning from Experiences
According to Greene, life experiences enhance knowledge over time and likewise, business performance can be enhanced through time and experience. When you think about it, this not only makes sense but also seems like one of the most practical pieces of advice.
After all, Robert was once quoted as saying that even Napoleon had to cultivate his success on the battlefield and nurture his sense of dominance in spite of being a famously shy and timid character.
How the Laws of Power can help PR and Marketing
While I may have only posted a few laws to go into greater details. Every laws has something to do with having a well balanced understanding of how to get into into the minds of people, how to better yourself and create an effective marketing strategy, and how to understand your competition. He doesn’t claim that building a business with successful PR and marketing is an overnight thing and you need to play the long game, but he definitely combines what people would traditionally think about PR and marketing with “psycological” warfare much like “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu.
If you break it down, ‘The 48 Laws of Power’ is a blueprint for dealing with other people or organizations and one that persuades the opposite side to make a favorable decision. While the above lessons are just a few nuggets from the book, they are certainly transformational traits and important points that can help improve any aspect of PR for any startup. You can follow these links to learn more…