Digital communication described by 13 points of “The Art of War” (Sun Tzu)

The assessment, the challenge, the business, the tactics, the analysis, the positioning, the area, the confrontation, the variation, the means, the grounds, the fire and the coordination are all ways of dealing with modern communication. As in the art of war, we must constantly draw inspiration from ancestral and efficient techniques to reach our target.

Although dating back 500 years BC. Sun Tzu’s text always inspires many strategies and can be extended to the world of communication. In the current digital universe, where we often have to differentiate ourselves and use impacting methods, “The Art of War” can be used as a reference. In 13 points it’s possible to imagine a real communication plan that allows a brand to stand out and enjoy prodigious amplification effects.

Detailed Assessment and Planning

Understanding the rules of the game, adapting yourself to the ground, having a method and a communication strategy is not something you can improvise. To succeed, the brand must have strong enough foundations. A competition study, pragmatism, a previous assessment is essential to achieve the objectives set. To surprise, we should not hesitate to imagine a storytelling very different from the ordinary, which will allow the target market to spread the message.

The Challenge

From change ideas are born. Innovating can stimulate communities that generate engagement. The rapidity of action, the Grail of modern communicators, can generate a real tsunami. Finding the “knotted heads” and imagining tailor-made campaigns are the indispensable ingredients to prepare for future success.

In this world, it’s possible to be one step ahead, but not by much. Communication about a false rhythm and a campaign that is not focused enough are all risks that must be considered. Usually you may only have one attempt.

Planning Offensives

In the absence of adversaries, the campaign can be a memorable success. Finding a niche and counting on it in case of success is essential. Very often you have to know how to pitch weak signals in order to prepare future achievements. When the ground is a minefield and the seeds are dry, do not be obstinate. If we are sure, we should not hesitate to rethink our strategy and delay communication. An unsuccessful and poorly orchestrated campaign can generate a terribly “bad buzz”.


Without a new niche, we must not hesitate to consolidate our strengths to reinforce our positioning. A rebound can lead to the generation of a successful audience. Digital communication is also made of ricochet effects that spread endlessly. The more timeless the content is, the more possible rebounds are, the easier it will be to drive open doors. The modern communicator must never forget that any communication action is an opportunity to restart the machine.


Relying on teams, playing with signals to compose winning communications, Sun Tzu used the example of music notes to show that with few means it was possible to imagine an infinity of combinations. The digital universe shows us every day that it does not take many to send a signal sent at the right time and place to generate a deflagration in the system. Once the advantage is acquired, it is difficult for others to reach their height. In the digital universe, the first to come can be incalculable.

Illusion and Reality

Digital communication is made up of surprises, at every moment it can take a different direction and go unexpected ways. The randomness of the matrix available offers such possibilities that we constantly have to try to surprise our targets. Uberization illustrates this effect of the improbable, this situation where a battle is won on unexpected grounds. To break through the mysteries, sometimes you have to know how to make yourself invisible. The digital allows listening to weak signals to hear whispers and what is not said.

Engaging The Force

Digital communication needs to be pragmatic. It may be a small step ahead but you must avoid being too large, it would not be understood. With avant-garde communication, concepts must always be explained in order to democratize them. An isolated message, on unsafe ground, will have little chance of being carried out.

Before each campaign. It is necessary to imperatively analyze where the commercial objectives are to give them a message through a suitable platform. There is never a single solution, but there are always some areas that are more favorable to success than others.

The Nine Variations

A very weak signal will have little chance of penetrating fast enough to become effective. With digital communication we have to move fast and change tactics according to the events that are happening. You always have to adapt. Immobility is probably the worst case scenario. In this universe where “New Worlds” are discovered every moment, you must never rely on your past achievements.

Moving The Force

Speed ​​is usually the key. The initiator of an idea can quickly find themselves in the middle of a tremendous passion. If a mean has already been used, it is necessary to be patient and wait to re-explore it and trigger a new and greater effect. Knowing how to observe and being patient, are key skills for building perpetual strategies. Usually precipitation leads to failure. Newton’s pendulum never stops.

Situational Positioning

Digital technology requires a very precise mapping of the ground. Each tool, each network and each site represent opportunities or risks. You have to adapt yourself to the environment, if you choose a path too difficult, you will exhaust your team for a potentially very low return.

When a place reveals a gold mine, one must know how to exploit it to the maximum, otherwise competitors will seize the opportunity. It would be a pity to leave the best equipment available. Thanks to social networks everything is observable and analyzable, it’s necessary to be attentive and remain a constant social intelligence to seize the best opportunity.

The Nine Situations

The digital universe is composed of movements. You need to surprise positively to propel a brand. Within the digital world, where many ask questions and accumulate delays, one must know how to take advantage of the absence of others to be able to take a leading position. Today, the barriers that exist are quickly impregnable and we must know how to take advantage of this opportunity.

The Fiery Attack

Communication requires you to have other ideas, creating Fountains of Youth and trying to see what can work. The niches are right at your fingertips. It is always possible to imagine a new business. If a seed has not grown sufficiently beforehand, you need to wait for the right opportunity to use it.

Sometimes you have to let the competition advance into unfamiliar terrain and minefields. Avoid dispersal. The digital world is made of circles of influence and you have to know how to jump from one circle to another to reach the broadest; But it is always based on the initial circles that will be able to take you the furthest.

The Use of Intelligence

Knowing how to regroup, to play on mass effects and to use collaborative modes are imperatives of the digital communication. The isolation and lack of commitment are a source of failure and can be very expensive. The foundations of a digital strategy will determine its possible success. Once launched, all the forces must be coordinated.

The 13 points

Analyzing Sun Tzu’s 13 points should be a prerequisite for any digital communication, because it’s in managing its strengths and weaknesses that a brand can act effectively or not. Knowing the ground, using the right means, not letting oneself get bogged down in a world where speed has become essential to take one step ahead, you have to imagine innovative strategies that will be sources of future success.

Alban Jarry

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Translation with Sophie Perrin

Translation with Sophie Perrin