Positioning - Al Ries, Jack Trout

Positioning - Al Ries, Jack Trout

Learn the communication approach that has revolutionized the marketing world, affecting products, their prices, sales locations and promotions.

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The authors Al Ries and Jack Trout created this practical guide whose main objective is to teach companies and managers to use the positioning strategy.

Marketing is a constantly changing discipline and, without a doubt, positioning was a revolutionary idea that made this sector even more fascinating.

This simple concept, which changed the nature of advertising, is capable of affecting the product, its price, place of sale and its promotion.

Want to know more? Then continue reading this PocketBook and we will explain how to position your product in the mind of the potential customer!

About the book "Positioning"

"Positioning" was first published in 1980, by Al Ries and Jack Trout. This work, considered one of the most important in the world of marketing, consists of 216 pages divided into 25 chapters that address positioning as a strategy in a super communicative and competitive market.

About the authors Al Ries and Jack Trout

Al Ries works in the marketing area and is president of Ries & Ries, Roswell and GA.

Jack Trout is president of Trout & Partners, Old Greenwich and CT.

Both are known as the greatest marketing strategists in the world and responsible for creating the concept of Competitive Positioning.

To whom is this book indicated?

"Positioning" is indicated for professionals who work in marketing, sales and related areas, and who want to position brands and products in the minds of potential customers.

Main ideas of the book "Positioning"

  • Positioning consists of seeking the solution in the mind of the potential customer;
  • To be successful, it is necessary to have a successful communication, that is, able to penetrate people's minds;
  • The mind has no room for the new, unless it has a connection with the old;
  • The position of competitors cannot be ignored;
  • The easiest way to penetrate the customer's mind is to be the first;
  • The following brands must look for loopholes in the customers' minds;
  • The name is important and can influence the failure or success of a product;
  • Care must be taken with the extension of the product line and with the use of names already known in new products;
  • A positioning program requires a strong long-term commitment on the part of the people in charge of it.

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[Book Summary] Positioning - Al Ries, Jack Trout

Overview: What is positioning?

Creating something that is completely new and does not exist in people's minds is becoming more and more unviable. Precisely for this reason, the positioning approach is not to create something different, but to manipulate what already exists in people's minds.

We live in a supercommunicative society, that is, a society that communicates in excess. As a result, the mind rejects much information. Thus, it is necessary to be selective and use over-simplified messages.

According to authors Al Ries and Jack Trout, positioning is nothing more than looking for the solution in the mind of your potential customer!

Overview: The assault on the mind

As stated earlier, we are surrounded by a lot of information due to the explosion of media, products and advertising. This creates many business and social problems, since only a minimal fraction of the information is absorbed and not necessarily the most important.

Therefore, in communication, less is more. And, according to authors Al Ries and Jack Trout, the answer to these problems is positioning.

How to get into people's minds

According to the book "Positioning":

"The paradox of our supercommunicative society is that nothing is more important than communication."

Thus, to be successful, it is necessary to have a successful communication.

Successful communication is one that is able to enter people's minds. And, according to this chapter, the easiest way to achieve this is by being the first to arrive.

So, if your company was not the first to penetrate the prospect's mind, a positioning problem arises.

After the product era and the image era, we arrived at the positioning era. At this point, companies need to create a position in the customer's mind that takes into account the strengths and weaknesses of their products and that of their competitors.

Overview: Those little ladders in your head

To understand more effectively the challenges that communication needs to face, this chapter of the book "Positioning" uses a metaphor about the "stairs" that exist in our head.

According to this idea, people mentally classify products and brands, with each ladder representing a product category and each step representing a brand.

Therefore, an advertiser who wants to launch a new product category, must create a new ladder in the customer's mind.

As explained by the authors Al Ries and Jack Trout, it is important that the new category is related to the old, because the mind has no space for the new, unless it has some connection with the old.

In addition, we must remember that to achieve success, one cannot ignore the competitor's position, be it higher or lower than yours.

Overview: The positioning of a leader

The easiest way to achieve leadership is to be the first to penetrate the minds of potential customers. However, these companies should not do a marketing that announces that they are "number 1" in their categories, as that would be to repeat the obvious.

To be able to stay in the lead, they must develop marketing that positions them not on their own terms, but on the terms of the potential customer. In addition, they must show that their product is the "real thing" and must not ignore or despise innovations launched by their competitors.

We must remember that the power of these companies comes from the power of their products and not the other way around.

For this reason, many companies use the "multi-brand" strategy, that is, they react to the launches of the competition by launching a new brand, creating an exclusive position for the product and not simply increasing the product line of a brand already recognized in another segment.

Overview: The power of the name

The name of companies is a very important element and can influence the success or failure of the business.

The authors Al Ries and Jack Trout explain in the book "Positioning" that a good name is the one that starts the process of positioning the brand, that is, that tells the customer what the greatest benefit of that product is.

Using an invented name is usually not a good alternative, unless you are the first to penetrate the minds of potential customers with a completely new product. In that case, any name works.

The namelessness trap

Here we are going to deal with the risk that companies run in using acronyms, that is, a set of initials instead of words. Some research shows that companies with names are more likely to grow.

Therefore, according to authors Al Ries and Jack Trout:

"A company must be extremely well known before it can successfully use its initials."

The trap's ride

The progress of technology has led companies to start expanding their products, creating branches in other areas and forming so-called "conglomerates". As a result, companies often use their name to designate these new products.

However, according to authors Al Ries and Jack Trout, when a new product enters the market it is almost always a mistake to give it a famous name. This is because this famous name already occupies a position in the mind of the potential customer.

A launch requires the creation of a new positioning. So, you need a new name.

Overview: The positioning of a company

This chapter of the book "Positioning" presents the history of the Xerox company and the mistakes made by it in order to expand its business. Based on this, we learn the lesson that, in order to position a company effectively, it is necessary to:

  • Have a name that represents something within your industry;
  • Find some quality that distinguishes your products from others;
  • The strong position in the mind of the potential customer is built on the basis of great achievements, and not on a large line of products (diversification);
  • Always stay alert to current problems and markets.

Overview: The positioning of a country

The book "Positioning" addresses the story of a US airline that was only allowed to land in one European country: Belgium. As a way to increase its sales, the company decided to create a campaign to position the country, with the objective of attracting tourists to the place.

The lesson of the account presented by the authors Al Ries and Jack Trout is that:

"To be successful, a positioning program requires a strong long-term commitment on the part of the people who take charge of it."

Overview: The positioning of an island

After opening Jamaica's doors to capitalist investments, some of its representatives hired authors Al Ries and Jack Trout to create a position for the island.

The best solution found by them was to create the image of Jamaica as "Hawaii of the Caribbean", differentiating it from other tourist spots in the region.

Overview: The placement of a service

Western Union has developed a new type of service called Mailgram, the first email in the USA.

In the quest to promote it, the company first used a positioning and achieved a resounding success. Ten years later, he decided to change the strategy and the result was a huge drop in the services provided.

So, according to authors Al Ries and Jack Trout, equally important in creating a good strategy is having the courage to maintain it.

Overview: The positioning of a bank in New Jersey

United Jersey also had to take a stand due to strong competition. Based on studies, it was realized that the strategy should take into account the only weakness of large metropolitan banks: slow service.

To this end, the bank adopted key commitments to ensure that its performance met the announcement's promises.

The result of this was a much faster and more efficient bank, with a 26% growth after one year of program.

Overview: The position of the Catholic Church

The positioning logic was also applied in the Catholic Church, with the aim of improving the institution's communication, resolving an "identity crisis" arising from the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

The solution found was to define the role of the Church as "master of the word". However, authors Al Ries and Jack Trout say in the book, "Positioning", that it was very difficult to convince Church members to implement this solution.

Overview: Your positioning and your career

Positioning can also be used to promote people and their careers. Here, we present six questions to activate your mind and help you position your business. They are:

  1. What position do you occupy?
  2. What position do you want to occupy?
  3. Who do you face?
  4. Do you have enough money?
  5. Can you hold on?
  6. Are you up to your position?

What do other authors say about it?

In the book "Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd", Yougme Moon emphasizes how wanting to differentiate your product from the others can end up leading you to boycott it.

And, so that this does not happen, it is necessary to arouse interest in your customers for innovation, following an inverse positioning of competitors, so that your potential consumers realize that your product is breaking with conformism, it is now a differential.

In "Value Generation", Flávio Augusto says that winning thoughts are more likely to generate positive results. Whereas, trivial thoughts generate only trivial results.

For example, instead of asking yourself "where can I learn to think victoriously?", ask yourself "from whom can I learn?" Flávio says that "it is only possible to learn to have a winning mentality with the winners".

Finally, the book "Innovate or Die", by Luiz Guimarães, introduces a proposal that seeks to modernize and innovate companies to adapt them to the digital age, focusing mainly on customers.

The work brings reflections that help to better understand the changes and their causes, besides stating that it is not necessary to be a startup to innovate.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

  • Always look for the solution in the mind of your potential customer;
  • Respect the competition;
  • Understand the role of words;
  • Know how words affect people;
  • Be careful with the change;
  • Have vision, courage, objectivity, simplicity and subtlety;
  • Be willing to sacrifice yourself;
  • Have a global perspective;
  • Be the first to penetrate consumers' minds.

Did you like this summary of the book "Positioning"?

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Book “Positioning”