POSITIONING: The Battle of your Mind
BY: Jack Trout and Al Ries
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind is a book that shows one how to use powerful and innovative techniques to capture the biggest market share and become a household name, build one's strategy around the competitor's weaknesses, use the present position to its best advantage, choose the best name for the product, determine when and why less is more, and analyze trends that can affect one's positioning. The book provides ample illustrative cases as well as for positioning correctly.
The basic approach of positioning is not to create something new and different, but to manipulate what's already in the mind and to retie the connections that already exist. The question most frequently asked by positioning skeptics is, "Why?" Why do we need a new approach to advertising and marketing? The answer is that we have become an over communicated society. In the communication jungle out there, the only hope to score big is to be selective, to concentrate on narrow targets, to practice segmentation. In a word: "Positioning." The best approach to take in our over communicated society is the oversimplified message. Since so little of your message is going to get through anyway, you ignore the sending side and concentrate on the receiving end. You concentrate on the perceptions of the prospect, not the reality of the product. By focusing on the prospect rather than the product, you simplify the selection process. You also learn principles and concepts that can greatly increase your communication effectiveness.
The Assault on the Mind
One reason our messages keep getting lost is the number of media we have invented to serve our communication needs. Another reason is, the number of products we have invented to take care of our physical and mental needs. And how does the average person cope with the product and media explosions? Not very well. Studies on the sensitivity of the human brain have established the existence of a phenomenon called "sensory overload." Beyond a certain point, the brain goes blank and refuses to receive sensation. Ironically, as the effectiveness of advertising goes down, the use of it goes up. Not just in volume, but in the number of users.
Getting into the Mind
Positioning is an organized system that is based on the concept that communication can only take place at the right time and under the right circumstances. The easy way to get into a person's mind is to be first. You build brand loyalty in a supermarket the same way you build mate loyalty in a marriage. You get there first and then be careful not to give them a reason. The hard way to get into a person's mind is second. The advertising industry is learning the lesson, the hard way. With the magic of money and enough bright people, some companies feel that any marketing program should succeed. But, that isn't right. To understand how we got to where we are today, it might be helpful to take a quick look at recent communication history. In the product era, the advertising people focused their attention on product features and customer benefits. They looked for a USP. In the image era, successful companies found that reputation or image was more important in selling a product than any specific product feature. But just as the "me-too" products killed the product era, the "me-too" companies killed the image era. As every company tried to establish a reputation for itself, the noise level became so high that relatively few companies succeeded. In the positioning era, today, it has become obvious that advertising is entering a new eraan era where creativity is no longer the key to succeed in our over communicated society. A company must create a position in the prospect's mind, a position that takes into account not only a company's own strengths and weaknesses, but also those of its competitors.
Those Little Ladders in your Head
The mind rejects new...