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Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, 20th Anniversary Edition Hardcover – January 18, 2001
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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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Top customer reviews
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I wish I could go back in time after having read this book -- Positioning gave me numerous epiphanies related to companies I have started or worked for. Positioning is a must-read for anyone who works in marketing or business, especially those launching a new product or struggling to hit stride with an existing product.
The book hammers home the point that the only reality that matters with is the perception of your customers. It's the prospect's world-view and interpretation of your product that counts, not yours. And although this book contains outdated examples as it was published over 30 years ago, I didn't feel that this detracted from the core content. Rather, the authors' prophetic and timeless concepts helped reinforce their arguments. Overall, this book helped me move along the path towards critically understanding and evaluating positioning strategies.
My primary criticism of this book is that while Ries and Trout provide a highly practical explanation of how and when to use line extensions, I did not feel as well-armed with practical methodologies for positioning in general. Other than semantic differential, no research strategies or exercises were provided for defining the positioning of an entity. I was somewhat able to fill this gap with material I found online published by Roger Straus. In particular I would recommend looking up Straus's "triangular" strategy, which incorporates rational, affective and relational positioning, to be a great supplement to Positioning.
Still some very applicable ideas for positioning your product or service in the minds of people already overloaded with advertising stimuli. Must read for anyone in a marketing role.
The authors coined the term "positioning" and first wrote about it in a 1972 article in Advertising Age. "Positioning is the first body of thought that comes to grips with the problem of getting heard in an overcommunicated society," they say. It is perhaps even more relevant today given the orders-of-magnitude increase in messaging of all types where only the tiniest fraction is relevant to any one person.
Developed largely around big-company advertising, positioning is broadly applicable to entrepreneurs, small business, job seekers, career professionals and lonely people as well as corporations and institutions. How can this be? Don't we live in a society of rapid obsolescence where yesterday's news is virtually irrelevant? The reason is psychology.
Positioning is based on how people think, how they evaluate, how they compare, how they prioritize and how they select. These are nearly timeless processes deeply embedded in the human mind. Ries and Trout show you how to hook your message into the subconscious mind of your prospects. In another book Ries defines a brand as "a singular idea you own inside the mind of your prospect." The methods described in this book help you craft that brand message for maximum effectiveness.
This book is very well organized. The Table of Contents includes one-sentence chapter summaries so you can quickly jump to material that is relevant to your situation. They cover "Positioning of a Leader," "Positioning of a Follower," and "The Power of a Name." Example positioning exercises include "Positioning of a Company," "Positioning of a Country," "Positioning of a Product," "Positioning of a Service," and "Positioning of a Ski Resort" among several others. For the individual seeking a job or trying to advance a career there is "Positioning Yourself and Your Career." For the small business person and entrepreneur there is "Positioning Your Business" and "Playing the Positioning Game." This is not only for marketing professionals.
Some reviewers find the examples outdated. I challenge them to use those examples as a starting point to find companies today whose success is based on excellent positioning (e.g. LinkedIn: Business Networking; Tesla Motors: High-Performance Electric Cars; Starbucks: Social Coffee). The process and the beneficial results have not changed over time.
I rate this a 5 star book for thought-provoking content, broad appeal, and excellent organization.
I give this book only four stars because: a) toward the last quarter of the book he parsed into separate categories several 'principles' that were really just a single principle and I got the feeling he was just trying to make the book seem more 'rich with information'; b) this information is thirty to thirty five years old (1980,s) and the examples show it. It needed to be updated - it was published 2001; c) some of the predictions in the book were way off. After thirty five years or so, they now know what really happened and should have explained the reasons, thus adding to real 'richness of information'.
Nevertheless, the principles are sound, well tested, and applicable (with some good judgement when doing so).
Most recent customer reviews
Good to read about applying to alternative areas: country, person, religion.
I am not sure the concept is still actual these days.