Positioning, a concept developed by the authors, has changed the way people advertise. The reason? It's the first concept to deal with the problems of communicating in an overcommunicated society. With this approach, a company creates a 'position' in the prospect's mind, one that reflects the company's own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors. Witty and fast-paced, this book spells out how to position a leader so that it gets into the mind and stays there, position a follower in a way that finds a 'hole' not occupied by the leader, and avoid the pitfalls of letting a second product ride on the coattails of an established one. Revised to reflect significant developments in the five years since its original publication, Positioning reveals the fascinating case histories and anecdotes behind the campaigns of many stunning successes and failures in the world of advertising.
If you understand the essential brilliance of the concept of an "uncola" (never mind what they put in it), you understand positioning. But don't confuse it with image. Image is a man with an eyepatch in a nice shirt, or Commander Whitehead. And forget product features, too, say admen Ries and Trout, because even the better mousetrap and creativity are Nowhere in our "overcommunicated" society of the Eighties, where the "average" family watches television seven hours a day. The mind can only take so much. In advertising today, less is more, and to succeed "a company must create a position in the prospect's mind." Positioning can make or break what would otherwise be an also-ran product, and the key is not to try to beat the leader head-to-head. Instead, the Ries/Trout theory goes, you find a position: the "against" position (uncola, Avis as number-2); the size position (Volkswagen, at least before they fell into the FWMTS trap - "forgot what made them successful"); the high price position, (Chivas Regal). There are positioning holes aplenty for an advertiser who's willing to research the market. Was there a crying need for a "nighttime cold medicine" or a "feminine" cigarette? Not really, but Nyquil and Virginia Slims are classics of successful positioning. It works if you're the leader, too, since nothing beats being there first with a good product - except being second with as good a product and a better name (Metrecal was first, but Slender got the sales), unless you proceed to put that name on a dozen products and forfeit your former position (Heinz owned the pickle position until it went into ketchup, too). In the ad agency world, Ries and Trout own the "positioning" position - they've been pushing the theory in trade journals since the early Seventies - and although not much here will be new to advertising professionals, this is a sharp, punchy introduction for us "prospects." (Kirkus Reviews)