Positioning, The Battle For Your Mind

Review - 04 Sep 2015

Walking into the supermarket you do the whole ‘ahhh what am I here for again’ thing. Looking around your head starts to spin as the visual onslaught hits your retinas - the bright colours and fancy product packaging add to the visual haze. Confusion sets in. 

Bread. You remember you needed to get bread.

Scampering to the bread isle, your senses start to feel safe and normal again - the fresh smell is reassuring. You’re safe, again.

Snap, back to reality.

 The clouds in your mind start to infiltrate their way back. You mind start to compare bread prices against the different bread attributes. Do you want thin or thick slice, toast or sandwich, whole grain or white? Shit. But you’ve heard good things about organic/paleo/gluten-free/wanker loaf. Crap - it’s too much. You just wanted bread, and maybe milk.

Yes, I know - this is not a major life-changing decision, but you want to get it right.

This is when the concept of positioning kicks in. With your conscious mind overloaded, your subconscious (lazy and safe) puts up its hand, ready to speak - it wants its turn too.

Now, like every person I’ve ever met, I bet you like to think you’re discerning. You’re not like other people. You’re in control, and you make your own decisions. And they’re good choices, right? Well, I hate to break it to you, but your mind is a little out of control. I’m serious. Our minds can’t possibly or accurately interpret all the options thoroughly to make informed decision. And if we tried then that could take us mortals days, maybe even years. No one has that sort of time to assess the complexities of bread, let alone our many other daily decisions.

So how do we get by, how do we actually make purchasing decisions?

It’s called positioning. 

 In 1981 two smart guys; Al Ries and Jack Trout wrote one of the great marketing books. Positioning: The Battle for your Mind.

The book uncovers palatable examples from both Al and Jack’s ad agency experiences. It highlights how consumers categorise brands’ products in their minds. For you business folk, the book provides models for you to utilise when analysing your business - the brand and competitive environment.

This book is one of the great marketing reads. Today’s strategies all have a lot to do with positioning your product or service in the mind of the customers. Even with new marketing approaches, their principles continue to have complete relevance.

 There are many territories of positioning described in the book, some of which i’ve listed below. For me the main idea to take away links to how humans minds work. Typically, we can recall seven brand names for each product category, and three of which come to mind immediately - if you’ve read Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, fast and slow’ you’ll understand why. Positioning looks at the techniques to rule these categories in the mind of the customer, becoming a front-of-mind brand.

 Positioning Territories

  • Positioning of a leader
  • Positioning as a follower
  • Repositioning the competition
  • The power of a name
  • The no-name trap
  • The free-ride trap
  • The line extension trap

 Knowing and being able to reference these ideas as you endeavour to market your business will undoubtedly contribute to the success of your firm. Feel for consumers; they’re confused, restless and time conscious. Life’s stressors linger like dark clouds in their mind, giving room for limited product information to cut through. It’s our job to make it easy to make choices, it’s our job to think about the consumer.