A game of Top Trump – Kim Jong Un wins…

A game of Top Trump – Kim Jong Un wins…

A game of Top Trump – Kim Jong Un wins…

In a letter to the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, released on Thursday 24th May, the US President Donal Trump said, “I was very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have the long-planned meeting.”

So, what does this mean? What led up to this and what will Kim Jong Un’s response be? Philip Ingram MBE an intelligence and military planning expert gives his thoughts.

When looking at any issue from an intelligence perspective it is important that you put your own views, opinions, and prejudices to one side and look at it from the perspective of those involved.  It is only then that you can get a true understanding of what has happened and why.  You then look for the unusual, ‘the things you know you don’t know,’ to paraphrase another American.

My first perspective is Donal Trump.  Over the past weeks and certainly since Mike Pompeo’s visit to North Korea to meet with Kim Jong Un and start the work for what had the potential to be a ground-breaking summit, Trump, and his staff will have come slow realisation that they were being played.

Kim Jong Un, by making all of the noises he did with regard to the Olympics, his disarmament rhetoric and statements, with his meetings with the South Korean Leader Moon Jae-in and ‘destruction’ of his nuclear test facilities at Punggye-ri – Trump saw what he wanted to see, his name in lights, a Nobel Prize and a large ‘I saved the world’ badge on his lapel.  Mr Kim saw recognition.

Trump saw this through the one lens that is the most dangerous for any leader to have, it is the lens of EGO and it is his ego that led him to see what he wanted to see.  The dangerous issue with this, if a leader blinded by his own perspective isn’t dangerous enough, is that his staff are clearly so scared of disagreeing with him that they fell into a group think scenario and everyone believed.  That is a damning criticism of the US intelligence machine as Intelligence should always act as a commander’s conscience.

Trump got out of the summit by getting Mike Pence to say North Korea “may end like Libya”, knowing that this would enrage Kim and Kim’s response through a North Korean official, Choe Son-hui, was to refer to US Vice-President Mike Pence’s comments as “stupid”. A quick diplomatic tussle to give an excuse to cancel the talks.  However, Kim’s response was to use Trump’s language back at him and keep the option for dialogue open.

From Kim Jong Un’s perspective, his nuclear rhetoric, turned into a capable nuclear reality (so who helped him? Read my Blog The Russian Bear leading the bald Trump eagle in a game of nuclear Jong) had allowed him to join the ‘big boys club’ and show he was a leader of global importance by getting the US President to come to him and showing the world his conventional and nuclear capabilities.

Kim never had any intention of getting rid of his nuclear capability, he wanted to cement his place at the top table, ease sanctions so he could make more money and swan around the world like the global leader he sees himself as.

He has probably been given a quite scolding by his elder ‘grandfather’ type figure Xi Jinping telling him to calm the rhetoric down and showing how he can make more money. But he has the ear of Mr Xi.

He has given Putin the idea of using a nerve agent as an assassins’ weapon and shown he can be a plausibly deniable outlet for cyber-attacks. He had nothing to lose by having talks with Moon and Trump and everything to gain. He had a smug feeling in his belly and with his new Russian installed internet pipe, he had the ear of Mr Putin.

However, Kim Jong Un like Donald Trump has an ego and his petulant, childlike ego has just been smacked very hard. Not only will he be reeling from the letter that reads like it is scolding an errant school child by comparing asset sizes, but it was sent on the day he was showing the world’s journalists the supposed destruction of his nuclear test facilities. This could not have been worse from a timing perspective. Very publicly, and almost certainly known by the North Korean population, Donald Trump has caused Kim Jong Un to lose face, something that is culturally unacceptable.

Xi Jinping has no doubt told Kim to count to 100 if he gets wound up by Trump and this is probably why North Korea has said it is still willing to talk “at any time in any form” and vice-foreign minister Kim Kye-gwan said Mr Trump’s decision was “extremely regrettable”.  North Korea is trying to and probably maintaining the higher moral ground.  Xi Jinping will want to use his influence to undo any potential trade tariffs between China and the US and will be working his diplomatic links with President Trump hard. Once that is off the table he will probably let Kim Jong Un have more of a free rein again.

However, I suspect Kim Jong Un has gone well past 100 and is still reeling.  He will be planning his next action; his ego will not let the loss of face subside and unless Trump puts his ego to one side and reaches for an olive branch again; rather than progressing peace this could sink any opportunities whilst Trump remains in the White House and could make the doomsday clock tick even closer to midnight.  The one saving grace is that Xi Jinping is taking a long-term view and is acting as the quiet hand of sense.

One person who remains smiling at the continuing international hiatus is Vladimir Putin. His global freedom of manoeuvre just got a little easier…

Note: This blog is written by Philip Ingram MBE, a former British Army Intelligence Officer who has served in the Middle East and Cyprus. If you would like any further comment from Philip, please contact him by clicking HERE

A few tips to avoid being a busy fool

A few tips to avoid being a busy fool

A few tips to avoid being a busy fool

  1. Plan, Plan, Plan– Understand your strategic goal and plan, plan, plan to ensure your activities match what you need to do to achieve that goal. You won’t know this unless you have criteria to measure your progress on your path to success. Eliminate any activity that doesn’t relate directly to your objectives.
  2. Avoid decision by consensus – groups and committees rarely make good decisions; they spend far too much time discussing minutiae and then ignore decisions when their personal agenda is not at the fore.
  3. Don’t let your sales team be sold to – The easiest way to get rid of a salesman is to say his products are great but you need a detailed proposal before you can make a decision. Call ended quickly, your sales team have a heap of work to do, the “client” just wanted rid of the call. Make sure there is oversight of all proposals before the sales team start on them.
  4. Never relax – if you relax in a meeting it is more likely than not to become unproductive and a talking shop. Some of my most productive meetings have been conducted standing up and to a tight time scale.
  5. Avoid rigid habits – why do the same thing just because people are comfortable with it? Change diaries, avoid fixed agendas, mix up the speaking order in meetings. Keep people on their toes and you will quickly identify those who can’t think on their feet…..
  6. Say no – not ‘I’ll consider’ it or ‘Come back to me, next week’ Busy fools allow their mouths to operate independently to their brain, just say what you mean. If someone can’t take it, are they right for your business?
  7. Ignore email – if the first thing you do at the start of the day is check your email and start responding, you haven’t planned your day! Begin by mapping out what you really need to achieve rather than allowing your Inbox to dictate your day.
  8. Learn – If you use office software whether it be Excel, Outlook or something else, know how to use it and if you don’t, do some on-line learning.  Knowing how to use the basic tools of your trade will save days! Most people don’t use these systems efficiently but an hour invested in training every few days will reap huge benefits over time.
  9. Act don’t wait – When you get an email or and enquiry, respond, file, delete otherwise you will be scanning them repeatedly becoming less and less decisive.
  10. Avoid the same brick wall – You make a decision, are working hard to achieve it but at the same point every time you get there you hit a “brick wall”. After the second or third hit you need to ask has the situation changed, do I need to review my decision or have I just taken a bad path? Busy fools have sore heads from continuously head-butting the same brick wall!
Fail to plan your marketing, plan to fail your investment

Fail to plan your marketing, plan to fail your investment


May, 2017




Fail to plan your marketing, plan to fail your investment

The first thing that must be defined in any plan before you even begin to think of allocating resources, is what is the effect you are trying to achieve? This sounds simple but is something that is worth spending a bit of time getting right as once this is defined then the activities, resources and budget needed to achieve that effect can be mapped. Achieving brand awareness in a new area is a different effect and will require different activities, to developing 500 leads.

Defining what you are trying to achieve will allow you to design your content output and then use the most effective platforms to get that message to where it needs to go.


Equally important are the indicators needed to check you are making progress with your marketing activities to achieve the effect you have defined. Indicators must be carefully thought through so that you don’t let your marketing team “kid you” that you are getting good return on investment (ROI). “I am frightened at the number of companies who still count stand footfall as their key ROI indicator.”

So, having made the decision to take a stand at a trade show I am sure you want to get maximum return for your investment. It is critical therefore, that you don’t see the trade show as an event that occurs between two dates at a specific place and rely on the audience drawn through the doors by the event organisers; hoping they will visit your stand and stop.

You must plan pre-event activities to draw people to your stand by stimulating their interest and then ensure a post-show series of activities to reinforce the message you gave to your visitors whilst informing those who didn’t make it, as to what they missed. Maxine Davenport, Head of Client Services at FortuneWest, gave me good advice and said how important it was to: “Be prepared, do as much as you can before the event including having at least your first round of communications ready to go as a follow up from meetings, even if it’s just a holding email.

Your pre-event activities should be aimed at creating a need in the targeted audiences to want to come and visit you at the event. Remember, event organisers want as much footfall as possible so there are many ways they can help you with this. The key to engaging with clients, current and future, is value adding content. The more you can give that informs, adds value or stimulates thought, the more likely they are to engage. According to a recent B2B Content Marketing Report produced by Holger Schulze, Group Founder B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn, the top content products for generating engagement are, “Case Studies followed by best practices, then “how to” guides and market trends. Less than 25% of people are interested in product related outputs and even fewer (17%) on competitive comparisons.

Schulze went on to say, “In addition to being the most effective content subject, case studies are also the most effective content marketing tactic. Blogging moves down to a close second and surprisingly, the number of marketers who mentioned social media as an effective marketing tactic drops significantly from 64 percent in our last survey to 36 percent this year.”


LinkedIn again tops the list of the most effective social media platforms to deliver content and engage audiences. This year, YouTube moves to second and Twitter moves down a rank to third.

Writing the content is one thing but seeking audience engagement is as critical and how it is posted out must be considered alongside what is to be posted. “LinkedIn again tops the list of the most effective social media platforms to deliver content and engage audiences. This year, YouTube moves to second and Twitter moves down a rank to third.” Confirmed Schultze.

You Tube is the second largest search engine, next to Google and is owned by Google. However, it coming as the second most effective social media platform emphasises the importance of video as a platform in your content marketing mix. Cisco quote that by 2017, 69% of all consumer internet traffic will be video. Its naturally engaging, if a picture paints 1000 words then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million according to Forrester’s research. Axonn Research found 7 in 10 people view brands in a more positive light after watching interesting video content from them.

With video, short targeted videos that can be easily distributed via LinkedIn or Twitter give an ideal way of reminding your show visitors of what they saw or informing those who didn’t make if of what they missed. However, you should remember to keep the content flowing after the event so customers come to you because they have built up a trust in your message. The worst thing you can do is pay a lot for a one-off video that you hope will generate traffic, it won’t. Always look at the statistics on a video providers you tube channel and if it is only in the hundreds of views after an event with thousands of visitors, then you need to find a better outlet.

Preparing the ground before an event will reap benefits at the event, and these must be exploited post event, otherwise you will have failed to plan your marketing so you should plan to fail your investment.

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