Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1. What positioning is all about. Many people misunderstand the role of communication in business and politics today. In our overcommunicated society, very little communication actually takes place. Rather, a company must create a “position” in the prospect’s mind. A position that takes into consideration not only a company’s own strengths and weaknesses, but those of its competitors as well.

Chapter 2. The assault on the mind. There are just too many companies, too many products, too much marketing noise.

Chapter 3. Getting into the mind. The easy way to get into a person’s mind is to be first. If you can’t be first, then you must find a way to position yourself against the product, the politician, the person who did get there first.

Chapter 4. Those little ladders in your head. To cope with our overcommunicated society, people have learned to rank products on mental ladders. In the rent-a-car field, for example, most people put Hertz on the top rung, Avis on the second rung, and National on the third. Before you can position anything, you must know where it is on the product ladder in the mind.

Chapter 5. You can’t get there from here. A competitor has no hope of going head-to-head against the position IBM has established in computers. Many companies have ignored this basic positioning principle and have suffered the consequences.

Chapter 6. Positioning of a leader. To be a leader you have to be first to get into the mind of the prospect and then follow the strategies for staying there.

Chapter 7. Positioning of a follower. What works for a leader doesn’t necessarily work for a follower. An also-ran must find a creneau or hole in the mind not occupied by someone else.

Chapter 8. Repositioning the competition. If there are no creneaus left you have to create one by repositioning the competition. Tylenol, for example, repositioned aspirin.

Chapter 9. The power of the name. The most important marketing decision you can make is what to name the product. The name alone has an enormous power in an overcommunicated society.

Chapter 10. The no-name trap. Companies with long, complex names have tried to shorten them by using initials. This seldom works.

Chapter 11. The free-ride trap. Can a second product get a free ride on the advertising coattails of a well-known brand? In the case of products like LifeSavers gum, the answer is no.

Chapter 12. The line-extension trap. Line extension has become the marketing sickness of the decade. Why it seldom works.

Chapter 13. When line extension can work. There are cases, however, of successful line extensions (GE, for example). A discussion of when to use the house name and when to use a new name.

Chapter 14. Positioning a company: Xerox. Xerox owns the copier position. But as Xerox moves into the office automation field, how should the company be positioned?

Chapter 15. Positioning a country: Belgium. The answer to the problems of a national airline like Sabena Belgium World Airlines is to position the country, not the airline.

Chapter 16. Positioning an island: Jamaica. “Sand and surf” has become a visual clichŽ for all Caribbean islands. How do you establish an unique position for one of them?

Chapter 17. Positioning a product: Milk Duds. How a product with a small budget can get into the mind by positioning itself as the long-lasting alternative to the candy bar.

Chapter 18. Positioning a service: Mailgram. Why a totally new service has to be positioned against the old.

Chapter 19. Positioning a Long Island bank. How a bank successfully struck back when its territory was invaded by its giant neighbors from the Big City.

Chapter 20. Positioning a New Jersey bank. One of the best ways to establish a position is to find a weakness in your competitor’s position.

Chapter 21. Positioning a ski resort: Stowe. How an outside expert can add credibility to a positioning claim.

Chapter 22. Positioning the Catholic Church. Even institutions can benefit from positioning thinking. An outline of some steps that could be taken to position the Roman Catholic Church.

Chapter 23. Positioning yourself and your career. You can benefit by using positioning strategy to advance your own career. Key principle: Don’t try to do everything yourself. Find a horse to ride.

Chapter 24. Positioning your business. To get started on a positioning program, there are six questions you can ask yourself.

Chapter 25. Playing the positioning game. To be successful at positioning, you have to have the right mental attitude. You have to become an outside-in thinker rather than an inside-out thinker. This requires patience, courage, and strength of character.

Bron: Ries & Ries

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