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Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, 20th Anniversary Edition Hardcover – January 18, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 246 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 3 edition (January 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071359168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071359160
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"...Ries and Trout taught me everything I know about branding, marketing, and product management. When I had the idea of creating a very large thematic community on the Web, I first thought of Positioning...."
­­David Bohnett, Chairman and Founder of GeoCities

"One of the most important communication books I've ever read. I recommend it highly!"
­­Spencer Johnson, MD, co-author of The One Minute Manager

It shook up the world of marketing with all the force of a 20-megaton bomb, and now, two decades later, Positioning is still as fresh and, perhaps, even more relevant, for advertisers in the New Economy. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the classic book that changed an industry, McGraw-Hill has reunited mavens of marketing Al Ries and Jack Trout to make available to another generation of advertisers the book that forever changed the way advertising is done.

The 20th Anniversary Edition features commentary from the authors that offers fresh insight into why "positioning" a product in a prospective customer's mind is still the most important strategy in business. Ries and Trout look back over two decades of campaigns, offering penetrating analyses of some of the most phenomenal successes and unbelievable failures in advertising history.

The first book to deal with the problems of communicating to a skeptical, over-communicated public, Positioning describes a revolutionary approach to creating a "position" in a prospective customer's mind that reflects a company's own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors. Writing in their trademark witty, fast-paced style, Ries and Trout explain how to position an industry leader so that it gets into people's minds and stays there, how to position a follower so that it can occupy a space not claimed by the leader, and how to avoid letting a second product ride on the coattails of an established one.

About the Author

Al Ries is Chairman of Ries & Ries, Focusing Consultants. Jack Trout is Chairman of Trout & Partners. Al Ries and Jack Trout are undoubtedly the world's best-known marketing strategists.


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Customer Reviews

Very easy read as well.
Brian J. Caouette
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in marketing/advertising.
Tyler Sands
The book is an updated version so most of the examples are very dated.
John Chancellor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Krista Neher on February 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
If you are building a brand or a business you need to think about positioning and branding. What is it that you want to stand for that is unique and different in the market place? Positioning isn't just for big brands - it is for any brand (even your personal brand.

I would definitely recommend this book - it is well worth the read, but I would probably only give it 3.5 stars out of 5. The main reason is that the examples are WAY out of date (the book is 30 years old). The principles still apply today, however it is tough to follow a book that is referencing examples from when I was 2 years old.

I have also read another book by the same authors "The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding" and I liked this MUCH more.

So, bottom line: It is a good book, worth a read, solid principles, but out of date. This book is especially relevant if you work for a big company (most of the examples are big company examples), but the principles can also be applied to any business, or your personal brand.
Key Points:

* The position of your brand or business is in the eyes of your prospect or customer. It doesn't matter what you think your business or brand stands for or is about. They key is the perception that your customers have. "Positioning is how you differentiate yourself in the mind of the prospect. That is, you position the product in the mind of the prospect."
* Our society is overcommunicated. Even 30 years ago there were so many commercials that you had to really work to break through the noise. "We have become the world's first overcommunicated society. Each year we send more and receive less"
* It is difficult to change minds If your positioning strategy involves changing that people already think you will have a difficult time.
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73 of 79 people found the following review helpful By "dgrounds" on August 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
A classic in marketing how-tos, the authors explain the importance of offering something for sale that appeals to the buyer, not to the seller, creator, or manufacturer. The product is positioned relative to the consumer, and her needs and viewpoints of value. The basic theory is that you get into the mind of your consumer, and position your product accordingly. And on that point, almost anyone would have to agree.
You will not find the gory details in this book that you'll need to execute a marketing plan, though, but the general theme is examined, as well as various positioning examples (everything from Kleenex to Heinz Ketchup - or was that pickles?).
I was particularly disappointed about a lack of methodology to reach a positioning statement, other than some fairly broad "rules", lightly applied throughout the book. There were six questions at the end that were helpful, but did not constitute a rigorous method - well, any method really - to create a "position". If anything, I would have wished for the method that could be used to create positioning for a product, or to test a company's current positioning, rather than have as many examples of positioning failures.
Some of the author's examples seemed contradictory, and especially when the authors claimed that brand extension amounts to a virtual see-saw - one product steals the brand identity from another (Heinz Ketchup vs. Heinz Pickles - who is Heinz!?). From hindsight, it can be seen that some brand extensions have been extremely successful, while others aren't.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By David Quinn on March 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
Positioning is the idea that shook Madison Avenue to its core in the 1970s. Ries and Trout published what the high priests of Madison Avenue deemed as heresy. These two upstarts dared to take the voodoo out of marketing - and marketing has not been the same since.
Over the years I have given away countless dozens of Positioning. I have found two types of recipients: (1) Those who view it as a book on marketing, and (2) those who truly "get it."
Positioning is not actually about marketing, though that is its platform. It is about how the human mind works. The principals taught in this book apply across all of our lives - from how we are viewed by our friends to why we affiliate with a particular political party or other social cause. Learning how Positioning works is learning about life.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 3, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Positioning is a concept that has been coined by Ries and Trout in the late 1970s. Today (2000), Positioning has become one of the most commonly used marketing terms.
Like all other books by Trout and Ries, "Positioning" is straight-forward, common-sensical and easy to read. The book is full of real market example of positioning attempts that succeeded and failed.
This book belongs on the bookshelves of marketers just as much as the laws of trigonometry belong on the shelves of mathematicians
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Lothos25 on July 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
"Positioning" is a book written to appeal to the then burgeoning "marketing professional" a job description that I do not believe was well separated from advertising as of yet. Therefore, "positioning" caters to people who are involved in the selling of products and services, but that do not necessarily have any formal training in psychology. Although some of the bases of the theory of perception and memory are inherent in the concept presented as "positioning", the theoretical underpinning are not explored at all, and the authors either do not know about them, or make no effort to demonstrate they do, which in a way undermines the effectiveness of the contents of the book. This happens because, due to the lack of any theoretical basis for the concepts the authors claim to be effective, the book becomes a series of anecdotes that have not withheld the passing of time very well. This would not matter if there was some theoretical backing for the arguments presented, but leaving the whole support of the ideas to anecdotes from "successful" companies that have (in most cases unconsciously) applied the concept of positioning makes the book very weak after 20 years.
"Positioning" also falls for the logical trap of presenting all ideas as directives, and then copping out by establishing that, if it doesn't work, it must be the marketing practitioner's fault. The last chapter mentions that "To be successful at positioning, you have to have the right mental attitude... This requires patience, courage, and strength of character". Therefore, if the "positioning" strategy fails, it is your fault, not the concepts.
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