It is a really serious question, can you actually reach a customer’s mind? What ways can help you get to your target audience? And what is this ‘positioning’ which everybody mentions, but nobody explains?

The story:

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind By Al Ries, Jack TroutIn their 1981 book, “Positioning: The Battle for your Mind”, Al Ries and Jack Trout describe how positioning is used as a communication tool to reach target customers in a crowded marketplace. Jack Trout published an article on positioning in 1969 and regular use of the term dates back to 1972 when Ries and Trout published a series of articles in “Advertising Age called The Positioning Era”. Not long thereafter, Madison Avenue advertising executives began to develop positioning slogans for their clients and positioning became a key aspect of marketing communications.

“Positioning: The Battle for your Mind” has become a classic in the field of marketing. The following is a summary of the key points made by Ries and Trout in their book.

The experience:

When I’m interviewing managers for our agency I like to ask such tough questions about positioning and branding…(what else to do!)…and often I get bizarre answers like: “Positioning is undoubtedly one of the simplest and most useful tools for marketers. After segmenting a market and then targeting a consumer, you would proceed to position a product within that market.” Or “Positioning is a position of the product in the market” or “How dare you to ask such immoral questions???!!! Shame on you!!!”

And I still ask about that mysterious positioning which everybody is talking about, but nobody seems to know what it is?

In marketing, positioning has come to mean the process by which marketers try to create an image or identity in the minds of their target market for its product, brand, or organisation. Repositioning involves changing the identity of a product, relative to the identity of competing products, in the collective minds of the target market. De-positioning involves attempting to change the identity of competing products, relative to the identity of your own product, in the collective minds of the target market.


So it is a marketing term, but regarding advertising, I like the description given by Al Ries and Jack Trout. Yes, it is the battle for customer’s mind, and every day this battle becomes harder and harder. The cost of information in media has become very high, and in this condition, low price information fills all informative space around much faster then we would like to see. As a result, the real price of information goes down, and more and more people think that whatever message you want them to hear might be spam, so they switch on their anti-spam filters, and in a moment all your positioning and strategies go into recycle bin.

Then let us look what kind of mistakes in positioning guide us to be and remain unknown?

1. Low attention to the quality of your product can kill all effort of positioning.

When the customer trusts your advertising, buys the product, he creates his opinion about it, and that is the key. If your product is as good as you communicated, you get an anchor in the customer’s mind (I can trust these guys). If your product fails, well sorry, even then you create an anchor (I will tell all my friends not to trust these people). So, it is all about trust…again

2. Be a human.
When from all directions you hear those sweet unnatural voices, see those breathtaking Photoshop girls you can’t trust, you can be sure your customer also doesn’t believe them. Be a human, natural, maybe not a Barbie look alike, but be honest. The customer appreciates it. (Dove campaign is a case in point)

3. Create your uniqueness on the market, be a bit different, but recognisable.
Chose you niche: be funny or serious, smart or next-door boy… Create a character and vision of your product.

All these steps will help you to create a strong brand, and one of this steps is positioning.

P.S. In Brand + Photo School we use Brand Positioning formula to get the right path to your customer’s mind.

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