Review: Positioning, The Battle For Your Mind, 20th Anniversary Edition By Al Ries, Jack Trout

Review: Positioning, The Battle For Your Mind, 20th Anniversary Edition By Al Ries, Jack Trout

What is positioning? Anyone who paid attention to Marketing 101 in college is probably well versed in the power of positioning and branding. It is a highly productive concept used by marketers to get their brand in the prospect’s mind and can be a tool to reach marketplace dominance. It is also a strategy to get a message across in an over-saturated advertising world where consumers are blasted from messages constantly during the day. In the end it is a tool, one that uses psychology and the limits of the human attention span in a highly effective way.

I came across Positioning, The Battle For Your Mind while reading the New York Times about the death of Jack Trout, one of the authors of the book. I realized after reading his obituary that I had never really explored the concept of positioning, despite exploring the concept of branding. I have started using the latter as a method of promoting myself in my career and discovering a path forward to reach my goals. After learning a few hard lessons about the importance of managing perceptions in others, I thought I could find some value by reading this book.

Positioning as it relates to the marketplace is a method wherein a brand finds a way to differentiate itself from others in the mind of the buyer. This is important because once the perception of a brand is lodged in the mind, or positioned so to say, then it is very hard to unseat that perception if defended well. However, there is ample opportunity to create another position in the mind by finding something unique about your product or service that creates it’s own identity, and in a way harnesses the power of a first mover advantage, even if the market sector is already saturated. Once that position is solidified in the consumer’s mind, it makes counter-advertising highly ineffective.

The book itself breaks down the process of positioning, how it’s worked to help brands, and how it’s hurt others. A revolutionary idea during the time of its first publishing, positioning no doubt has changed the marketing landscape forever. You simply can’t find many company’s today who don’t position themselves well, but you can find plenty along the wayside who got it wrong. Although the book addresses a lot of brands in it that make it feel a little outdated as most of those are no longer relevant because of the shift in marketplace, you can find plenty of examples today easily by just looking at today’s trends. Muscle Milk for example, a  product in the overly crowded supplement marketplace, has positioned itself at the top of its category. The same goes with Under Armor too, which is unseating Nike and Adidas in the sportswear categories. The list goes on and on.

From a personal perspective though, this book does offer a lot in the way of positioning as it relates to your career. It gives great advice on how to differentiate yourself in a crowded and highly competitive labor market that surrounds today’s top jobs. Positioning is about strategy, and you should be applying strategy to get what you want. There is no value in waiting and hoping for things to come to you, they simply will not unless you make it happen.

If you’re interested in reading more of this book, you can click HERE.

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