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War In The Boardroom: Why Left-Brain Management and Right-Brain Marketing Don't See Eye-to-Eye--and What to Do About It [Bargain Price] [Hardcover]

Al Ries

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Book Description

Feb. 13 2009

Renowned business gurus Al and Laura Ries give a blow-by-blow account of the battle between management and marketing—and argue that the solution lies not in what we think but in how we think

There's a reason why the marketing programs of the auto industry, the airline industry, and many other industries are not only ineffective, but bogged down by chaos and confusion.

Management minds are not on the same wavelength as marketing minds.

What makes a good chief executive? A person who is highly verbal, logical, and analytical. Typical characteristics of a left brainer.

What makes a good marketing executive? A person who is highly visual, intuitive, and holistic. Typical characteristics of a right brainer.

These different mind-sets often result in conflicting approaches to branding, and the Ries' thought-provoking observations—culled from years on the front lines—support this conclusion, including:

  • Management deals in reality. Marketing deals in perception.
  • Management demands better products. Marketing demands different products.
  • Management deals in verbal abstractions. Marketing deals in visual hammers.

Using some of the world's most famous brands and products to illustrate their argument, the authors convincingly show why some brands succeed (Nokia, Nintendo, and Red Bull) while others decline (Saturn, Sony, and Motorola). In doing so, they sound a clarion call: to survive in today's media-saturated society, managers must understand how to think like marketers—and vice versa. Featuring the engaging, no-holds-barred writing that readers have come to expect from Al and Laura Ries, War in the Boardroom offers a fresh look at a perennial problem and provides a game plan for companies that want to break through the deadlock and start reaping the rewards.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Business; 1 edition (Feb. 13 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061669199
  • ASIN: B002QGSWF6
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.7 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,013,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“[M]arketing folks should learn to speak in left-brain terminology. The book is a good place to start lessons. Examples are well-explained and down-to-earth. As for managers, even the most logical and analytical types should be able to see the reasoning behind ‘marketing sense.’” (USA Today )

“The Rieses are persuasive in their argument.... Entertaining and enlightening, this book has much for executives and managers at all levels to ponder.” (Publishers Weekly )

“[The Rieses’] engaging arguments are presented in a simple-to-read format, and the examples are persuasive.” (Harvard Business Review )

About the Author

Al Ries and his daughter and business partner Laura Ries are two of the world's best-known marketing consultants, and their firm, Ries & Ries, works with many Fortune 500 companies. They are the authors of The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding and The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, which was a Wall Street Journal and a BusinessWeek bestseller, and, most recently, The Origin of Brands. Al was recently named one of the Top 10 Business Gurus by the Marketing Executives Networking Group. Laura is a frequent television commentator and has appeared on the Fox News and Fox Business Channels, CNN, CNBC, PBS, ABC, CBS, and others. Their Web site (Ries.com) has some simple tests that will help you determine whether you are a left brainer or a right brainer.

Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed with great examples and insights. April 14 2009
By Sam Harrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Al Ries won the hearts and minds of marketers back in 1981 with his seminal text on positioning, and, to his credit, he's still preaching the same message. And for good reason: his positioning theories and insights have been proven time and again over two-plus decades. This book -- written with his daughter Laura -- clearly shows how marketers and management sit on opposite sides of the table when it comes to outlook and actions. Management deals in reality; marketing deals in perception.

These two authors know how to write. There's not a dull page to be found. Instead, the book overflows with dozens of lively, real-world examples clearly demonstrating the difference between management and marketing -- and where right-brainers or left-brainers have taken their brands for better or worse. And the authors aren't shy about assessing and making predictions about some of today's marquee brands such as Google and Amazon. It's an interesting, fun read.

More literal-minded readers -- left-brainers -- might be disappointed that final chapters aren't devoted to by-the-numbers directions on what to do about the problems of divided brains in the boardroom. But right-brainers -- in fact anybody who pays attention -- will instantly understand that every chapter in the book and the myriad examples provide the case studies on what works and what doesn't work.

If you're on the management side, read and heed. And if you're on the marketing side do as the authors suggest and use the well-written case histories as analogies to help educate top management and sell your concepts.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marketing Vs. Management April 2 2009
By Robb - Published on Amazon.com
Making marketing a continual science of the mind and pointing out the obvious -no one else can quite see with such clarity, the Ries Family does it again with yet another resource for the MBA marketing student catalog and again so user-friendly for the average marketing everyman who wants to understand why there's still a war in American corporate boardooms - and what to do about it. While their marketing classic "Positioning" book gave insight into how to 'plan your brand' into the minds of your targeted American consumer, "War in the Boardroom" (still leveraging those catchy head icons) addresses the the roadblocks marketers face from management in advancing their brands. One of the most concise quotes in this typical Ries fun-to-read book sums it all up definitively: "Management believes the key to success is developing a better PRODUCT. Marketing believes the key to success is developing a better PERCEPTION." Given the obvious conflict, if you want to take control of your marketing not just focused on your consumer, but on your own boardroom, pick up this book now - it could give you the power to understand what really has been holding your brand back.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Always Good Stuff from the Ries's Aug. 21 2009
By Jim Estill - Published on Amazon.com
I loved the book just like I like most of Ries stuff - I have been a follower almost from the start when Al Ries and Jack Trout wrote the great classic "The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing"

Since then Al Ries has teamed up with his daughter Laura and written a number of other books - mostly on the same topic. They write about branding and positioning.

I do not like the title as I think most of the battles they talk about - management vs marketing actually take place outside the boardroom.

The branding rules they talk about are simple and logical. Focus on one thing. Do not try to be everything to everybody. Be dominant in a category. One brand - one category (so don't try to sell Crest soap). I love the logic in it but I still find it hard to focus.

The thesis of the book is left brained people (logic based - who they say are management) conflict with right brained people (intuition based - who they say are marketing). Management wants to extend the brand, marketing knows better.

It is all about perception. It may not even be current sales that determine how strong a brand is, it is what the customers think of the brand that will create future strength. It is not so much about the product which is often the sole focus of management.

I am a strong believer in much of what the Ries have to say and suggest everyone should read a few of their books. I would suggest starting with one of their earlier books. Their views on branding and positioning are right on.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All CMO's should read this book July 22 2012
By Frans - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Yes, every CMO should read this book and get all the members on their team to read it too. Al & Laura Ries have done the research and have managed to put into a readable and impactful form that spells out, without much doubt, what the future of marketing looks like and how marketers need to be thinking in order to stay relevant in business today. The tussle between management and marketing isn't new, this book however shows in a useable and do-able manner, how the two can begin to speak the same language.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good message but there are flaws March 25 2012
By Mark Ellins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Review for Amazon for War in the Boardroom -
I give this book a strong 3 stars. The message was good and it should be read by Marketers and Sales. The message stating the companies should stay focused and not stray away from their direction is absolutely correct. BUT there were several inherent flaws in this message and the way this book was written:

1. I thought it was presumptuous the way they made the Management look like idiots and the markets always being right. As someone working in the international hi-tech market for 20 years, this couldn't be further from the truth. Without going into details, Marketers do not always see the big picture and get caught up in the message and not the reality. Products are sold based on reality and events on the ground. Marketers are usually disconnected from end customers, specific regions and distribution channels. This book did not touch about any of those specifics.
2. The book only focused on Fortune 500 companies. What about us who work in smaller companies? The book totally ignored us.
3. Darwin theory - Darwin's theory is so true with species as it is with businesses. A company that is too focused can make itself extinct when the environment changes or shifts. They brought the example of Blackberry but the book was unable to see its future failure. They were so focused on business handsets that they totally over looked the smart phone and now with the environment changing they are about to become extinct. Here Management can play a great role of having the ability to steer a company when the market shifts or changes. The book totally ignores this fact.
4. Really did not focus on hi tech. There were too many car company examples.

Besides that, the book is written clear and easy to comprehend and there are many good lessons to be learned.

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