In 1981 Al Ries and Jack Trout wrote a book called “Positioning.” I believe that it is still one of the very best books written on the concept of Branding. He defined positioning as what you do to the mind of the prospect. That is, you position the product/service in the mind of the prospect. “People think that marketing is all about getting famous, when it’s really about owning something in the mind of your clients and prospects. A successful branding campaign is based on the concept of singularity. It creates in the mind of the prospect the perception that there is not a product or service on the market quite like yours”.
Within the book emphasis is made on being first. “It’s better to be a big fish in a small pond (and then increase the size of the pond) than to be a small fish in a big pond”. I translate that to mean that you should narrow your focus and, if possible, differentiate yourself from the rest of your competition. A good question to answer is, “What do I stand for?” I believe that it is possible to build a big company by doing exactly the opposite of what others in the market are doing. Virtually every big company today was first in something.
Take for example a new printing company. There are hundreds of printing companies in our town, and unfortunately, the main message that the owner is marketing is “we are better”. Everyone says they are better and that alone does not give you credibility.
Two other books that I keep in my library are:
- The New Positioning by Jack Trout ( 1996)
- 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries (1998)
It’s impossible to cover more than the concept of positioning in a short article. I encourage you to spend some time on this subject and apply it to your business. It’s never too late to start a re-positioning process for your business.
Of all the sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: “It might have been.” John Greenleaf Whittier
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