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The Positioning Pioneers

Helping organizations position their brands in consumers’ minds.

Positioning Principles

Six Principles for building a brand in the mind.

1

Find an open hole.

1

Find an open hole.

Look for an open hole in the mind & then be the first brand to fill it.

Find an open hole.

Thirty-six years ago marketing was considered to be communications. You studied your product, its features and its competitors and then prepared advertising that explained why your product was better than the competition.

Al Ries realized the need for change, which led to his book that changed the field of marketing, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. Instead of focusing on the product, Al Ries focused on the mind of the prospect and developed the principles of positioning.

2

Narrow your focus.

2

Narrow your focus.

Most brands are too broad in scope to fill a hole in the mind.

They have too many features and too many benefits. And they appeal to too many different market segments.

Narrow your focus.

Most marketing consultants have no coherent strategy themselves. They are perfectly willing to tell you what to do, but they seldom take their own advice. We do.

We help clients build or refocus their companies around a singular idea

Dell
Sold directly to businesses.

Zappos
Free shipping. Both ways.

FedEx
Overnight delivery.

3

Name is foremost.

3

Name is foremost.

Every brand needs two names:

A brand name and a category name. Marketing people often overlook the opportunity to create a new category. Yet many brands owe their success to this strategy.

Name is foremost.

In our book, The Origin of Brands, we explain how divergence is creating endless opportunities to create new categories.

The first companies to launch new brands to exploit these new categories will become the long-time winners.

Chobani
The first Greek yogurt.

Red Bull
The first energy drink.

Fresh Express
The first packaged salad.

4

The Visual Hammer

4

The Visual Hammer

Hammer your marketing slogan into prospects’ minds.

The Visual Hammer

Our philosophy is simple, “Never settle for just a verbal approach.” Rather, try to find the right combination of a visual hammer and a verbal nail.

KFC’s 
Colonel Sanders

Coca-Cola’s contour bottle

Tropicana’s straw in an orange

5

The Verbal Battlecry

5

The Verbal Battlecry

Words alone are not enough.

The Verbal Battlecry

Every brand needs one more thing, to convert an ordinary slogan into a memorable battlecry.

There are 5 techniques you could use: Rhyme, alliteration, repetition, reversals & double-entendre.

Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man.

Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.

The ultimate driving machine.

6

PR, not advertising.

6

PR, not advertising.

In addition to developing an overall visual/verbal strategy, our consulting sessions include discussions about executing the strategy.

PR, not advertising.

A mistake companies normally make is to try to put a new idea into prospects’ minds with advertising. Advertising doesn’t have the credibility to do that.

Rather, a company should use public relations, or PR to establish the position. PR first, advertising second is what we recommend in our book, The Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR. But PR is just one of the ways to execute a new strategy.

Starbucks

Google

Tesla

Want help implementing these principles?

Want help implementing these principles?

Let's Talk

The Positioning Pioneers

Helping organizations position their brands in consumers’ minds.

Positioning Principles

Six Principles for building a brand in the mind.

1/6

1

Positioning Principles

Find an open hole.

Look for an open hole in the mind & then be the first brand to fill it.

Find an open hole.

Thirty-six years ago marketing was considered to be communications. You studied your product, its features and its competitors and then prepared advertising that explained why your product was better than the competition.

Al Ries realized the need for change, which led to his book that changed the field of marketing, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. Instead of focusing on the product, Ries focused on the mind of the prospect and developed the principles of positioning.

1/6

2

Positioning Principles

Narrow your focus.

Most brands are too broad in scope to fill a hole in the mind.

They have too many features and too many benefits. And they appeal to too many different market segments.

Narrow your focus.

Most marketing consultants have no coherent strategy themselves. They are perfectly willing to tell you what to do, but they seldom take their own advice. We do.

We help clients build or refocus their companies around a singular idea

Dell
Sold directly to businesses.

Zappos
Free shipping. Both ways.

FedEx
Overnight delivery.

1/6

3

Positioning Principles

Name is foremost.

Every brand needs two names:

A brand name and a category name. Marketing people often overlook the opportunity to create a new category. Yet many brands owe their success to this strategy.

Name is foremost.

In our book, The Origin of Brands, we explain how divergence is creating endless opportunities to create new categories.

The first companies to launch new brands to exploit these new categories will become the long-time winners.

Chobani
The first Greek yogurt.

Red Bull
The first energy drink.

Fresh Express
The first packaged salad.

1/6

4

Positioning Principles

The Visual Hammer

Hammer your marketing slogan into prospects’ minds.

The Visual Hammer

Our philosophy is simple, “Never settle for just a verbal approach.” Rather, try to find the right combination of a visual hammer and a verbal nail.

KFC’s 
Colonel Sanders

Coca-Cola’s contour bottle

Tropicana’s straw in an orange

1/6

5

Positioning Principles

The Verbal Battlecry

Words alone are not enough.

The Verbal Battlecry

Every brand needs one more thing, to convert an ordinary slogan into a memorable battlecry.

There are 5 techniques you could use: Rhyme, alliteration, repetition, reversals & double-entendre.

Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man.

Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.

The ultimate driving machine.

1/6

6

Positioning Principles

PR, not advertising.

In addition to developing an overall visual/verbal strategy, our consulting sessions include discussions about executing the strategy.

PR, not advertising.

A mistake companies normally make is to try to put a new idea into prospects’ minds with advertising. Advertising doesn’t have the credibility to do that.

Rather, a company should use public relations, or PR to establish the position. PR first, advertising second is what we recommend in our book, The Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR. But PR is just one of the ways to execute a new strategy.

Starbucks

Google

Tesla

Serving clients like

“Al & Laura Ries have world-class thought leadership in brand positioning, competitive marketing strategy, and PR.”

Paul Kim
VP Strategy at Samsung
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Bestselling Authors

Al & Laura Ries

We’ve been working together as advertising, marketing, and branding strategists for more than 20 years.

About Al & LauraView Blog

Over 3 million copies sold worldwide.

The book that shook the world of marketing

POSITIONING