The man who masterminded Pearl Harbour was Admiral Yamamoto.

He did it before war had been declared.

That was the whole point.

The Americans were beyond angry, they wanted revenge.

They targeted Yamamoto and eventually they got their chance.

They’d cracked Japanese naval codes and found out he planned to fly to a small Pacific island.

In an unarmed transport plane.

So they assembled 18 twin-engine fighters, each carrying 4 heavy machine guns and a 20mm cannon.

They meant to do the job right.

They had to intercept Yamamoto’s plane in mid air, 400 miles away in the middle of the Pacific.

An ocean four times the size of The Atlantic.

It was a million to one chance.

But you know what, they did it.

They located and killed the highest-ranking Admiral in the Japanese navy.

Japanese troops later searched the jungle for his body.

They found it sitting in the seat with the seatbelt still on.

And a fatal bullet wound entering under the jaw and exiting through the eye.

Job done.

The questions at that time were the same as after Bin Laden’s death.

Was it worth all that effort?

He’s only one man, there are lots more to take his place.

It won’t change anything, the structure is still there.

And of course, as a rational response all that’s true.

Except it’s not always about the rational.

By killing Yamamoto, or Bin Laden, they may not have hurt the enemy that much.

But in each case what they did was massively lift the spirits of their own people.

Suddenly everyone could see some actual progress.

Our team’s winning.

In the case of Yamamoto, what happened next was US citizens bought massive amounts of war bonds.

The war bonds that built the huge military machine that defeated Japan.

It didn’t matter how Yamamoto’s death affected the Japanese navy.

What mattered was how it affected the American people.

Bin Laden’s death was the same.

At a time when everyone was sick at the apparent lack of progress.

When support for the war was faltering and everything was bad news.

Suddenly the focus of all the anger, the personification of American hatred, was very publicly killed.

That lifted the mood across the US.

It doesn’t matter what affect his death had on Al Queda.

Suddenly Americans were back behind the war.

Suddenly America felt good about it.

That’s a lot of what we forget about what we do.

The most important people may not be the people we’re targeting.

The most important people may be our people.

The perceived audience may be the consumer.

But the real audience may be staff morale.

Pepsi understood that.

For sixty years they’d been copying Coca Cola.

So the feeling amongst consumers, and staff, was that Pepsi must be number two.

Eventually they decided to change that.

They began The Pepsi Challenge.

For the first time they didn’t copy Coke.

They spent all their advertising money telling people they were different to Coke.

That consumers preferred them 2 to 1.

That gave Pepsi employees the pride they’d been missing.

They were motivated.

Suddenly they were the challenger taking on the fat cat.

It rattled the people at Coke.

They’d grown complacent and lazy over the years.

They were so used to dominance they weren’t sure what to do.

So they panicked, and did the unthinkable.

After 100 years, they changed the recipe for Coke.

Pepsi knew they’d won.

And they knew who was really responsible.


On the day Coke admitted defeat, Pepsi gave their entire staff worldwide a day’s holiday.