Positioning (Trout Ries)

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Creating the perception of a product / brand /company identity. Explanation of Positioning of Trout & Ries. ('69). Explanation of Reverse, Breakaway, Stealth Positioning by Moon. ('05)

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  2. Forum
  3. Best Practices
  4. Expert Tips
  5. Resources
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What is Positioning. Description

Positioning is a marketing method for creating the perception of a product, brand, or company identity. Starting from 1969, two young marketing guys, Jack Trout and Al Ries, wrote, spoke and disseminated to the advertising and PR world about a new concept in communications which they called positioning. The term was actually first mentioned in a paper by Jack Trout: Positioning is a game people play in today's me-too market place, Industrial Marketing, Vol.54, No. 6, June 1969, pp.51-55. Their 1981 book about Positioning: "The Battle for Your Mind" became a bestseller. Until then, advertising agencies had primarily been basing their media campaigns on internally conceived benefits of the client's product.
 

According to Trout and Ries, "positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. That is, you position (place) the product in the mind of the potential buyer". Since that time in marketing, positioning is the technique in which marketers try to create an image or identity for a product, brand, or company in the perception of the target market. What matters is how potential buyers see the product. It is expressed relative to the position of competitors. Typical positioning tools include graphical perception mapping, market surveys, and certain statistical techniques.
 

Competitive Edge and Positioning

A successful positioning strategy is usually based on a sustainable competitive advantage of a company. Positioning can be based on several things, including:

  • Product features

  • Benefits, needs, or solutions

  • Use categories

  • Usage occasions

  • Placing and comparing it relative to another product

  • Dissociation of the product class

Three bases of positioning can be distinguished

  1. Functional (solve problems, provide benefits to customers)
  2. Symbolic (self-image enhancement, ego identification, belongingness and social meaningfulness, affective fulfillment)
  3. Experiential (provide sensory stimulation; provide cognitive stimulation)

Steps in Product Positioning. Process

  • Identify competing products

  • Identify the attributes, also called dimensions, that define the product 'space'

  • Collect information from a sample of customers about their perceptions of each product on the relevant attributes

  • Determine the share of mind of each product

  • Determine the current location of each product in the product space

  • Determine the target market's preferred combination of attributes. These are called: an ideal vector.

  • Examine the fit between: the positions of competing products, the position of your product and the position of the ideal vector

  • Select the optimum position

Three Positioning Strategies by Youngme Moon

In an HBR article of May 2005, Youngme Moon introduced three variations of Positioning that can be used to break free from Product Life Cycle thinking. Companies can change how consumers perceive them. By Positioning or often Repositioning their products in unexpected ways. Three positioning strategies that marketers use to cause a mental shift at consumers are Reverse, Breakaway, Stealth Positioning:

  1. Reverse Positioning. This method removes "sacred" product attributes. Simultaneously new attributes are added that would typically be found only in a highly augmented product. For example IKEA is not delivering to your home the products which you have bought, and it offers no sales consultancy. But IKEA added: children drop-off, cafe, toys). Recommended for: Services companies.

  2. Breakaway Positioning. This method associates the product with a radically different category. By manipulating the cues of consumers of how they perceive and categorize a product, a firm can change how consumers frame a product. (ex. Swatch > no longer in category Swiss Watches, but in Fashion Accessories). Recommended for Packaged Goods companies.

  3. Stealth Positioning. This variant gradually interests consumers for a new offering, by hiding the product's true nature. For example Sony's AIBO robot was positioned as a lovable pet. This shifted consumer's attention away from its major limitations as a household aide. It apparently even turned elderly people into early technology adopters. Recommended for: Technology companies.

Book: Jack Trout and Al Ries - Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind -


Positioning Forum
  Sit Back and Relax...
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  Reverse and Stealth Positioning in Banking Institutions
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  Reposition or Relaunch?
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  Example of Poor Product positioning
Is there an example of confused positioning? What ...
     
 
  What are the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Ries and Trout ? Summary
Another well-known publication by Ries and Trout i...
     
 

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Best Practices - Positioning Premium
  How to Measure the Effectiveness of Positioning?
In order to know how effective positioning is, pos...
     
 

Expert Tips - Positioning Premium
 

How to Develop the Positioning for a Bank?

According to L. Biff Motley in the article “The Po...
Usage (application): Strategic Marketing, Positioning
 
 
 

The Risk of Positioning your Product as 'The Best'

An article in the Harvard Business Review elaborat...
Usage (application): Marketing, Positioning, Branding
 
 
 

Self-gifting Buying Behavior

Clarke and Mortimer (2013) assess the motivations ...
Usage (application): Consumer Marketing, Self-Gifting, Consumption Behavior, Consumer Behavior
 
 
 

How to Better Understand your Customer's Needs?

In order to transform your customer’s experience a...
Usage (application): Customer Targeting and Strategy
 
 
 

The 22 Laws of Branding (Trout & Ries)

1. The Law of Expansion: The power of a brand is i...
Usage (application): Branding, Brand Recognition
 
 
 

Social Persuasion: Determining the Potential of Social Influencers

Which consumers are best able to influence others ...
Usage (application): Social Media Marketing, Social Influence, Opinion Leadership
 
 
 

Childrens' Understanding of Advertizing: Three Stages of Consumer Socialization

The way that people behave and how they make their...
Usage (application): Advertizing to Children, Targeting Children, Consumer Socialization, Marketing to Children
 
 
 

Brand Engagement of Consumers in the Digital Age

Edelman argues that nowadays people are connecting...
Usage (application): Branding, Brand Management, Marketing, Advertising
 
 
 

Customer Experience Management Framework

The concept of Customer Experience Management Usage (application): Experiential Marketing
 
 
 

Why Some Technology Revolutions Take Off and Others Don't

Back in 1962, Thomas Kuhn wrote “Structure of Scie...
Usage (application): Adoption of New Technologies
 
 

Resources - Positioning Premium

Brand Positioning

Brand Positioning by A. Kwanta Panthongprasert, De...
Usage (application): Positioning
 

Brand and Identity Management in Fashion Companies

This paper by Stefania Saviolo aims at analysing w...
Usage (application): Brand Management, Identity, Positioning, Communication
 

Product Positioning

Presentation about Product Positioning that includ...
Usage (application): Positioning Strategy
 

Strategically Managing Perceptions for Improved Corporate Reputation

Concise presentation that provides an interesting ...
Usage (application): Reputation Management Activities, Strategic Reputation Management, Reputation Perceptions
 

Customer Segmentation by Emotion: The EMO-index

Emotions are an important part of customers' overa...
Usage (application): Consumption Behavior
 

Consumer Buyer Behavior & Business Buyer Behavior

Presentation about both consumer buying behavior b...
Usage (application): Marketing, Strategy Decision
 

Speech of Trout on the Importance of Marketing

Jack Trout refers to Drucker’s advice: "Because th...
Usage (application): Trout on the Value of Marketing, Background of Trout
 
 

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Compare with Positioning:  Marketing Mix  |  Extended Marketing Mix (7-Ps)  |  Product/Market Grid  |  Co-Creation  |  Porter Competitive Advantage  |  BCG Matrix  |  Product Life Cycle  |  McKinsey Matrix  |  Innovation Adoption Curve  |  Profit Pools  |  Four Trajectories of Industry Change  |  Disruptive Innovation  |  Framing


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