The one-sentence summary

To make corporations change effectively, the people who work in them have to behave differently, or be told how to do so.

Can’t be bothered to read it? Listen to the 5-minute summary.


  • Powerful brands are built by people, not by proprietary methodologies
  • The real issue is not the strategy, but how we need to behave when an organisation’s systems seem more geared to slowing and diluting, than spurring and galvanising
  • To achieve this you need to be a Constructive Pirate. This is not the same as anarchy where there are ‘no rules’, but it requires a different set of rules
  • It shows how to write your own “Articles” in your organisation
  • Even in big organisations, you need challenger sub-cultures


It explains nine ways of behaving that stimulate challenger brand cultures:

1. Outlooking: looking for different kinds of insights by:

  • Emotional Insertion – Putting a new kind of emotion into the category
  • Overlay – Overlaying the rules of a different category onto your own
  • Brand Neighbourhoods – Radically re-framing your competitive set
  • Grip – Finding a place for the brand to gain traction in contemporary culture

2. Pushing – Pushing ideas well beyond the norm

3. Projecting – Being consistent across far more media than the usual

4. Wrapping – Communicating less conventionally with customers

5. Denting – Respecting colleagues whilst making a real difference

6. Binding – Having a contract that ensures everyone comes with the idea

7. Leaning – Pushing harder for sustained commitment

8. Refusing – Having the passion to say no

9.Taking It Personally – A different professionalism that transcends corporate man

Biting the Other Generals is a good concept based on an anecdote from the Seven Years War. A brilliantly unconventional General, James Wolfe, proved himself one of the most talented military leaders King George III had. When some of Wolfe’s detractors tried to undermine him by complaining that he was mad, the king replied: ‘Oh, he is mad, is he? Then I would he would bite some other of my generals’.

The Three Buckets is a good exercise whereby clients have to categorise all their existing projects into Brilliant Basics, Compelling Difference and Changing the Game – usually with poignant results


Not much. This is an excellent book and you can use the exercises with pretty much any business