Posted by: CogitoErgoPost | October 30, 2015

Mind Games

A classic marketing concept is Positioning, which was originally an article by Al Ries and Jack Trout that appeared in Advertising Age, circa early 1970s. Later in 1981, both marketing professionals published a book by the same name.

According to Ries and Trout, “… positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. That is, you position the product in the mind of the prospect.”

They claim that changes to the product—or service, company, organization, even a person—are mere cosmetic alterations. (This is actually the branding aspect. Another blog entry altogether.) In my interpretation, and from a philosophical perspective, the essence of the product is inherently in the product itself that the prospect (in this case consumer, either as existing or potential) has already pre-categorized.

Ries and Trout furthers their argument by claiming that to change the mind of the prospect is expensive. Hence, working with the prospect’s pre-existing mindset will be the best opportunity. This is analogous to gift giving during the holiday season, which is engrained in our minds; and changing this occasion to the Spring season will be a huge marketing undertaking.

Positioning is how long-time, loyal fans of professional sports teams continue to lend support regardless of current win-tie-loss table standings. A fan has deep-rooted memory to the day when their beloved team won universal bragging rights. Their favourite player was able to heroically score the last-minute buzzer beater to forever be immortalized (positioned) in their mind as a galactic champion. Yet, these days, that same team, sans heroic superstars, are mere mortals in the loss column. One sees these boisterous fans on tv, or during live events, with painted faces adorned in their team’s uniform. That’s the power of the product entrenched in the prospect’s mind. The power of Positioning.


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