Ries, A., & Trout, J. (2001). Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
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In the book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind Jack Trout and Al Ries outline primary issues that can frequently occur in the sphere of communication, not only in business but in all aspects of life within the society. There is a pattern of the American Society that is based on the fact that yearly society sends more and more information but receives less and less. The concept of positioning is defined as an improved version of communication that performs well for all layers of everyday life: people, businesses, products, and services. Positioning is usually best achieved when a person creates a particular place in the mind for a particular prospect.
A bright example of this is presented in the book. For instance, Al Ries and Jack Trout pose a question to their readers about the first pilot to fly over the Atlantic Ocean. The first person to fly over the Atlantic was Charles Lindbergh; however, there is very little information about the second person to do the same. Even if the skills of the second pilot exceeded the ones, Charles Lindbergh, he was remembered since the first person to fly over the Atlantic managed to make a permanent position in the mind of the society.
The same principle is applied in the sphere of marketing. A company should choose a material that will be appropriate for capturing a primary spot in the mind of people. However, the business should not look for solutions to a particular product in the product itself it should put a primary focus on looking for solutions to a product in the mind of prospective clients. Thus, there should be a major emphasis put on the perceptions of potential clients. Furthermore, it is crucial to remember that the message should always be shorter since the rapid pace of modern lifeless is always more.
The authors also discussed the importance of timing when it comes to positioning and communication. They outline the fact that there is rarely a second chance for a company to make a lasting first impression that will stay in the mind of a prospective client. Thus, in business or life in general, it should not occur if one party is not ready to make a lasting impression on another. In addition, the place and time for making a lasting impression also play a crucial part in the strategy of positioning. Lastly, it is also important to note that information is best perceived by different individuals if it corresponds to their point of vies. Trout and Ries provide an example of the Democrats and the Republicans reading the same material and using the same passages to support their opinions that vary significantly.
For a person that is a professional in the sphere of marketing Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind is not a necessary reading material since the examples provided are quite simple. However, what can be beneficial for marketers are the stories of how various companies deal with their business-related issues. On the other hand, the ideas and concepts presented in the book will be compelling for a general reader. In order to critically analyze the contents of the book, it is important to outline key lessons and analyze them. The primary points include:
- The brand is not what the company says it is but what a customer says it is.
- There is too much communication in modern society.
- Changing one’s mind is a complicated task.
- If there is no success in a particular category, make a new category.
- The product or service should first of all be visually attractive for customers.
All of these points directly relate to the way in which a business can be successful. Authors provide valuable points on how too much information can disrupt the message marketers are trying to convey to prospective customers and about how sellers or buyers should employ the strategy of positioning. In addition, major value is the distinction between the position of a follower and a position of a leader, as well as the importance of properly naming a brand or a service.
A significant advantage of this book relates to the simple way of the narrative that can be understood by readers of all professions or backgrounds. The most valuable questions are provided at the end of the book. These questions can be considered timeless for any business to position itself on the market: What position does the business have? What position does a business want to own? What other business does the company want to outshine? Does a company have enough money for further development? Does a company correspond its place on the market? Thus, despite the size and type of the company, these five questions can be beneficial for a business to position its marketing campaign.
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind clearly defines the concept of positioning as well as explains the way in which a business can implement it as a basis for a strategy. Nobody did a better job at this than Ries and Trout. However, because the book was first published in 1981, it can be considered outdated since companies offered as examples come from the 1970s-80s. Since then, many things have changed, and many remained the same. While reading this book, one can’t help but feel himself or herself a character from a science fiction movie that came from the future. In the context of the book, companies like Polaroid and Kodak are the marketing leaders, George Bush is the Vice President and Amazon is a river.
Authors have managed to clearly explain the importance of finding an appeal for potential customers rather than sellers, putting forward a basic theory: first, find out what the consumer wants, second, position a product in accordance with the acquired information. Despite this, there was still little practical information for companies to implement a plan in marketing despite the fact that general topics were explored.
The acquired knowledge from the book can be used by anyone in the sphere of communication. It is important to note that the concept of positioning does not only relate to business but also to all layers of human life in general. Its main purpose is to create a “position” in the mind of an individual. Thus, the principles outlined in the book can be applied in every situation of human life, from how an individual is perceived by his or her friends to how the public relates to different social or political organization. Getting information about the main principles of the positioning means getting information about how life works.