Positioning

Positioning - Positioning As Popularized by Al Ries and...

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Positioning As Popularized by Al Ries and Jack Trout In their 1981 book, Positioning: The Battle for your Mind , Al Ries and Jack Trout describe how positioning is used as a communication tool to reach target customers in a crowded marketplace. Jack Trout published an article on positioning in 1969, and regular use of the term dates back to 1972 when Ries and Trout published a series of articles in Advertising Age called "The Positioning Era." Not long thereafter, Madison Avenue advertising executives began to develop positioning slogans for their clients and positioning became a key aspect of marketing communications. Positioning: The Battle for your Mind has become a classic in the field of marketing. The following is a summary of the key points made by Ries and Trout in their book. 1. Information Overload Ries and Trout explain that while positioning begins with a product, the concept really is about positioning that product in the mind of the customer. This approach is needed because consumers are bombarded with a continuous stream of advertising, with advertisers spending several hundred dollars annually per consumer in the U.S. The consumer's mind reacts to this high volume of advertising by accepting only what is consistent with prior knowledge or experience. It is quite difficult to change a consumer's impression once it is formed. Consumers cope with information overload by oversimplifying and are likely to shut out anything inconsistent with their knowledge and experience. In an over-communicated environment, the advertiser should present a simplified message and make that message consistent with what the consumer already believes by focusing on the perceptions of the consumer rather than on the reality of the product.
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2. Getting Into the Mind of the Consumer The easiest way of getting into someone's mind is to be first. It is very easy to remember who is first, and much more difficult to remember who is second. Even if the second entrant offers a better product, the first mover has a large advantage that can make up for other shortcomings. However, all is not lost for products that are not the first. By being the first to claim a unique position in the mind the consumer, a firm effectively can cut through the noise level of other products. For example, Miller Lite was not the first light beer, but it was the first to be positioned as a light beer, complete with a name to support that position. Similarly, Lowenbrau was the most popular German beer sold in America, but Beck's Beer successfully carved a unique position using the advertising, "You've tasted the German beer that's the most popular in America. Now taste the German beer that's the most popular in Germany." Consumers rank brands in their minds. If a brand is not number one, then to be successful it somehow must relate itself to the number one brand. A campaign that pretends that the market leader does not exist is likely to fail. Avis tried unsuccessfully for years to win customers, pretending that the number one Hertz did not exist. Finally, it
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Positioning - Positioning As Popularized by Al Ries and...

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