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Amazon link: Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

'One of the most important communication books I've ever read. I highly recommend it!' - Spencer Johnson, author of "Who Moved My Cheese?" and co-author of "The One Minute Manager". '…

Ries and Trout taught me everything I know about branding, marketing, and product management. When I had the idea of creating a very large thematic community on the Web, I first thought of "Positioning"…' — David Bohnett, Chairman and Founder of GeoCities.

The first book to deal with the problems of communicating to a skeptical, media-blitzed public, "Positioning" describes a revolutionary approach to creating a "position" in a prospective customer's mind — one that reflects a company's own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors.

Writing in their trademark witty, fast-paced style, advertising gurus Ries and Trout explain how to: make and position an industry leader so that its name and message wheedles its way into the collective subconscious of your market — and stays there; position a follower so that it can occupy a niche not claimed by the leader; and, avoid letting a second product ride on the coattails of an established one."

Positioning" also shows you how to: use leading ad agency techniques to capture the biggest market share and become a household name; build your strategy around your competition's weaknesses; reposition a strong competitor and create a weak spot; use your present position to its best advantage; choose the best name for your product; determine when - and why - less is more; and, analyze recent trends that affect your positioning.

Ries and Trout provide many valuable case histories and penetrating analyses of some of the most phenomenal successes and failures in advertising history.

Revised to reflect significant developments in the five years since its original publication, "Positioning" is required reading for anyone in business today.

  • Contents of near-original edition
    • What positioning is
      • Positioning starts with a product. A piece of merchandise, a service, a company, an institution.

        But positioning is not what you do to a product.

        Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect.

        Positioning is also comes to grips with the problems of getting heard in our over communicated society.

        Essence is getting your brand name to stand for the generic

        Touch base with the reality that's already in the prospects mind. The basic approach is not to create something new and different. But to manipulate what's already up there in the mind. To retie the connections that already exist.

        Be selective, concentrate on narrow targets, to practice segmentation.

        Average person can tolerate being told something which he or she knows nothing about. But cannot tolerate being told he or she is wrong.


        Positioning is an organized system for finding windows in the mind.

        Position takes into consideration a companies strengths and weaknesses as well as it competitors.

        Look at what your competitors are doing and then subtract the poetry or creativity which has become a barrier to getting the message into the mind

        The ultimate objective of positioning is to gain leadership in a given category.

      • Steps to successful positioning
        • What position do you own in the mind of the prospect
        • What position do you want to own from a long term point of view
        • Whom must you outgun: competition
          • Thinking about the situation from the point of view of the competition.
        • Do you have enough money
          • If not enough to compete nationally with P&G then narrow the geographical scope. Then when you become the #1 brand there you roll out into other areas.
        • Can you stick it out: determine long term position then stick with it
          • Change tactics to adjust to changing situations but not long term position.

            Find new ways to dramatize it. New ways to avoid the boredom factor. ion roll out

        • Do you match your position
          • Do your advertisements (appearance) match yourself.
      • Role of the outsider : ignorance/objectivity
      • Playing the positioning game
        • Understanding words
          • Words don't contain meanings. Meanings are in the people who use them.

            A word has no meaning until someone uses it and fills it with meaning.

            Select and use words with as much disdain for the history book as for the dictionary.

            Select the words which trigger the meaning you want to establish.

        • Understanding people
          • It is a lot easier to change the facts to fit your opinions. mpetition.
        • Careful of change
          • Stick to what you do best and hold ground.
        • Need vision
          • Change is a wave on the ocean of time.

            Short term, the waves cause agitation and confusion

            Long term, the underlying currents are much more significant.

          • Determine basic business
            • Right direction
              • Decisions on what to be doing 5 years from now
              • No sense building a position on..
                • Tech too narrow
                • Product becoming obsolete
                • Name that's defective
            • Difference between what works & doesn't
              • Problem of the rising tide
          • Stick with it
        • Need courage
          • Seizing the initiative before the competitor has a chance to get established.
        • Need objectivity
          • Brutally frank

            Evaluate products objectively and see how they are viewed by customers and prospects.

            Need someone else to bounce ideas off of.

        • Need simplicity
          • The strategy should be the advertisement of it.
        • Need subtlety
          • An open position that's also effective

            That's near the center of the spectrum.

            Possible to have a positioning success and a sales failure or. reas.

        • Need patience
          • Look for place to make the brand successful then roll it out in other markets.

            Geographical roll out

            Demographic roll-out


            Distribution roll out

            lished in the prospect's mind.

        • Global outlook
          • Company name should not imply a national origin
        • "they" orientation
          • Focus attention on competition
          • Scan market place
          • Seek out competitive weaknesses to exploit
          • Avoid competitive weaknesses
          • "we" orientation
      • Xerox = copier / coke =
      • Getting into the mind
        • Easy way be first & don't give them a reason to switch
        • Product era
          • Attention on product features & customer benefits
        • Image era
          • Reputation or image was important in selling a product out
        • Positioning era
      • Little ladders in the head
        • What gets through is what we expect
          • Not only does the human mind reject information which does not match its prior knowledge or experience, it doesn't have much prior knowledge or experience to work with.
        • One prime objective of advertising is to heighten expectations
        • Product ladder p37
          • One brand on each step
          • The against position
    • Futility of attacking a well positioned leader
    • Positioning of a leader
      • First with the mostest
        • P/s failures of leaders into a different categories
      • #1 brand 2X market share of #2 & 4X ms of #3
      • Benefits of leadership
        • High market share
        • High profit margins
      • Leaders should use their short run flexibility to ..
        • Assure themselves of a stable long-term future.
        • What leaders should not do
          • Avoid we're no. 1 ads
          • Believe that the power of the product is derived from the
            • Power of the organization
        • What leaders should do
          • Enhance the product category
          • Two basic strategies
            • Rubbing it in
              • Reinforcing the original concept in customers terms
            • Covering all bets
              • Adopt every product development as soon as it shows signs of promise.

                Block the competitor by moving aggressively to cover the new product before it becomes established in the prospect's mind.

              • Covering with multibrands
                • Most leaders should cover competitive moves by introducing another brand. Each brand is uniquely positioned to occupy a certain location in the prospect's mind.

                  Enormous difficulty in repositioning a brand.

              • Covering with a broader name to bridge the gap
                • Between era's.
                • Broaden the range of applications
    • Positioning of a follower
      • Covering by follower = "me too" response
        • Not enough to be better than a competitor

          Must also launch attack while the situation is fluid.

          Before leader has time to establish leadership.

          Look for the soft spots in the business structure of the great corporations

        • Dangers
      • Looking for the hole
        • Product size
        • High-price
        • Low-price
        • Sex
          • Masculinity
          • Femininity
        • Opposite direction of the bulk of the business
        • Age
        • Time of day
        • Distribution
        • Heavy user
      • Mistake of filling hole in factory rather than mind
      • Technology trap
        • Semantic games with the prospect
      • Trying to appeal to everybody
    • Repositioning the competitions
      • WHEN a hole can't be found
      • To move a new idea/product into the mind must move out an old one.
      • Crux of repositioning is undercutting an existing concept, product or person
        • Must say something about your competitor's product that causes the prospect to change his or her mind, not about your product, but about the competitor's product with.
    • Product names
      • Power of the name
        • Name is hook that hangs the brand on the product ladder in prospect's mind
        • Tells the prospect what the product's major benefit is
        • Should not be so close to the product that it becomes a generic
        • How not to name it
        • When to use a meaningless name
        • Negative names can be a positive
        • The "too appropriate name"
        • Corporate Identity problems
      • No name trap: using initials
        • Where's there's no phonetic advantage, most people won't use initials.

          Name obsolescence a problem


          Finding it in the phone book

      • Using a well known brand name for a second similar product
        • Teeter-totter principle
          • Cannibalizes market share of well know brand or vice versa
        • New products need a new name
        • Anonymity is a resource
      • Line extension trap:using an established p/s name for new p/s
        • Line extension:
          • Inside-out thinking
          • Outside-in thinking
            • Brand name is a surrogate for the generic name
          • JCPenney vs. DieHard
          • Two ways of looking at the name
            • Broadening the base, different application
            • Its a company
            • Its a product/service
          • Examples
            • What's a Scott
            • What's a Lifesaver
            • What's a Everyready
          • Reverse line extension can work
            • Shopping list test
              • List the brand name
              • Send spouse to market
          • Step-down problem
          • Conceptual line extension: concept behind the product
            • Multiple positions not better than one
          • What is it test? : for position problem
          • How far should a name be stretched?
            • Economics
              • Line of canned vegetables : Delmonte
              • Competitor zeros in on a single product: Dole
              • Should Dole then line extend- being the last to do so
            • Judgment
        • When line extension can work
          • Expected volumein a given category.
            • Potential winner's: own name
            • Small volume products: house name
          • Competition
            • Crowded field : own
            • No competition: house
          • Advertising support
            • Big budget: own
            • Small budget: house
          • Significance
            • Breakthrough products: own
            • Commodity products: house
          • Distribution
            • Off the shelf items: own
            • Sold by sales rep : house


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker

The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure

Managing Oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context




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