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What does 'Positioning' by Al Ries and Jack Trout teach you?

A couple of months back I read a book called Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout and what really stood out was the thinking on how positioning can be defined.

The recent purchase of Urban Ladder by Reliance made me go back and have a look at the book to understand what could have possibly gone wrong.


We all know that positioning is how you differentiate yourself in the mind of your prospect.

But what gives it weight is what you do to the mind of the prospect.

It’s about manipulating what’s already in the prospect’s mind. and bridging the connections that already exist. One of the most critical aspects of positioning is being able to evaluate products objectively and see how they are viewed by customers and prospects, not by how you see them.

With the number of choices increasing every now and then, the mind acts as a defense against the volume of today’s communications, screens, and rejects much of the information offered to it.

So then, what’s the trick? In general, the mind accepts only that which matches prior knowledge or experience. Once it gets made up, it’s almost impossible to change it.

You might be committing an advertising disaster if you’re trying to change the prospect’s mind.

So, the best approach in this over-communicated society lies in the oversimplified message.

The ultimate goal is to make a long-lasting impression and for that, you have to sharpen your message as sharp as you can to cut into the mind.


We often look for the solution in our product, but what the book defines is to look for the solution to the problem inside the prospect’s mind.

The essence of positioning thinking is to accept the perceptions as reality and then restructure those perceptions to create the position you desire. The authors call this process “outside-in” thinking

Our minds have very limited room for something new and different and unless it’s related to the old, it’s harder for it to remember

One of the hacks for positioning your brand or product in an industry is you must ignore conventional logic.

Conventional logic says you find your concept inside yourself or inside the product.

Not true. What you must do is look inside the prospect’s mind

Ever wondered why do we do a SWOT analysis?

The task lies in considering the competitive strengths and weaknesses before we launch a marketing campaign

So, try various ways, maybe even rather than asking ‘Who are we trying to appeal to?’ try asking yourself the opposite question, ‘Who should not use our brand?’. This might give you a clearer picture


Isolating a narrow target is usually the first step in finding an effective position.

The most difficult part of positioning is selecting that one specific concept to hang your hat on. But it’s equally important. Try answering some of these questions before you jump on the bandwagon of launching a marketing campaign

1. What Position Do You Own?

2. What Position Do You Want to Own?

3. Whom Must You Outgun?

4. Do You Have Enough Money?

5. Can You Stick It Out?

6. Do You Match Your Position?

The book gives a good jump start on positioning especially for the people who are starting their own entrepreneurial ventures or are stuck somewhere. Start working with some good creative minds and you might discover a speck of light at the end of the tunnel


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