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Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind [Paperback]

Al Ries , Jack Trout
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 13 2000 0071373586 978-0071373586 1
Positioning, a concept developed by the authors, has changed the way people advertise. The reason? It's the first concept to deal with the problems of communicating in an overcommunicated society. With this approach, a company creates a 'position' in the prospect's mind, one that reflects the company's own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors. Witty and fast-paced, this book spells out how to position a leader so that it gets into the mind and stays there, position a follower in a way that finds a 'hole' not occupied by the leader, and avoid the pitfalls of letting a second product ride on the coattails of an established one. Revised to reflect significant developments in the five years since its original publication, Positioning reveals the fascinating case histories and anecdotes behind the campaigns of many stunning successes and failures in the world of advertising.

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From the Back Cover

"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
  • 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
  • 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.

About the Author

Al Ries is Chairman of Ries & Ries, Focusing Consultants. Jack Trout is Chairman of Trout & Partners. Al Ries and Jack Trout are undoubtedly the world's best-known marketing strategists.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By J. A. Broad TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Trout and Reis have been quoted so much in conferences and books and programs I've taken that I expected a lot of this book. I found many of the insights and discussions very interesting but didn't take away a ton of great lessons from the book. Most of the stats are very old and many of the stories aren't relevant to today. If you're a marketer working for P&G or Kimberly Clark or one of the packaged goods companies I think there is a lot to be learned from these two authors. If you're an entrepreneur I think you'll find much better books out there to help you understand your brand and how to position yourself. Start with books like Influence by Cialdini, Michael Masterson's series of books, and even some of the old marketing classics.

Please don't get me wrong - the book is well thought out and there are a lot of very interesting stories. The underlying messages about positioning are definitely valuable but it was a long haul listening to this collection of CD's trying to find the nuggets of gold to apply to my own entrepreneurial ventures.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - great insights and ideas Jan. 24 2014
The ideas presented in this book are pretty clear and can be pretty sobering for those in business. I wish I had purchased it before starting my first business!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Satisfactory April 20 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I got what I paid for, they were used books. One does not want to pay for express for something not of urgent nature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject, unchallenging presentation July 22 2003
"Positioning" is a book written to appeal to the then burgeoning "marketing professional" a job description that I do not believe was well separated from advertising as of yet. Therefore, "positioning" caters to people who are involved in the selling of products and services, but that do not necessarily have any formal training in psychology. Although some of the bases of the theory of perception and memory are inherent in the concept presented as "positioning", the theoretical underpinning are not explored at all, and the authors either do not know about them, or make no effort to demonstrate they do, which in a way undermines the effectiveness of the contents of the book. This happens because, due to the lack of any theoretical basis for the concepts the authors claim to be effective, the book becomes a series of anecdotes that have not withheld the passing of time very well. This would not matter if there was some theoretical backing for the arguments presented, but leaving the whole support of the ideas to anecdotes from "successful" companies that have (in most cases unconsciously) applied the concept of positioning makes the book very weak after 20 years.
"Positioning" also falls for the logical trap of presenting all ideas as directives, and then copping out by establishing that, if it doesn't work, it must be the marketing practitioner's fault. The last chapter mentions that "To be successful at positioning, you have to have the right mental attitude... This requires patience, courage, and strength of character". Therefore, if the "positioning" strategy fails, it is your fault, not the concepts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must-read for every marketing person April 30 2011
When I first read "Positioning," it was a new book in the early 1980s. It was then, and remains today the single most readable book that explains why people, buyers, voters and opinion makers form the opinions they do. It is witty, readable and broken into digestable chunks. Thirty years on, it needs a refresh. Badly. Unless you are past the age of 40 or 45, and preferably looking backwards at 50, the examples are (though valid) painfully dated. For many readers, they are scantly relevant for a full generation who have not lived through that period of the 1960s and 1970s in marketing and advertising. But it remains nonetheless a classic, and its principles remain as applicable today as when Ries and Trout wrote them. No serious marketing professional should embark upon a career without knowing what's between the covers in "Positioning."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simplifies the Complexities of Marketing Feb. 24 2006
This is the first book I read when I began my position as a Junior Writer with a Marketing Consulting firm. I was overwhelmed by all that I was learning on-the-job, though I loved having been thrown into the thick of challenging work. This book was an excellent starting point for me. It demystified a lot of the concepts that I was juggling around at the start, and gave me something to relate to.
I appreciate how Positioning deals with keeping concepts simple, both in the book and through its principles. That is, marketing is about giving consumers something clear, simple and relatable that is strictly yours, not necessarily about dazzling them every time. I have gone back to the teachings of Positioning every time I start to write something and find my work full of jargon that means nothing. It has proven to be a useful tool, and I suspect it will for a long time to come.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, A Milestone and a Must Read June 26 2004
The twentieth anniversary edition of "Positioning" is uniquely updated without disrupting the original edition. Ries and Trout provide commentary in the margins, rather than rewriting passages in the book.
And in those margins, they can sometimes be brutally honest, as they occasionally admit to being wrong on some of their theories. But what you will note as you read this book is that the theories they advanced 20 years ago have largely proved out in the interim. This is a seminal work, a book that should be read by anyone involved in any form of marketing.
The current hot trend in marketing-- "branding"-- is in many ways an outgrowth of the theories put forth on "Positioning." Essentially you distinguish your product or service from the competition. The ideal means of doing this is to be first to the market with your product or service, although that is no guarantee of continuous success. This may also mean finding an untapped niche, particularly in crowded categories.
Particularly interesting I their discussion of line extension, and how it dilutes, rather than strengthens, a company's position in the marketplace. And it is interesting to read how some companies at one time literally owned a particular product category, only to lose it when they tinkered with their concept too much.
Education, entertaining, and enlightening, this book is an important addition to anyone interested in marketing library.
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