Who is your favorite guru?

November 28, 2007

There is no question who my favorite guru is. It’s my Dad, of course. But I was glad to see that I am not at all alone in my admiration. Advertising Age reported this week on a survey done among top marketing executives that selected Al Ries as a top 10 favorite business guru.

Who else was in the top 10? Here they are:


That’s according to an elite group of marketing executives, members of the Marketing Executives Networking Group, recently surveyed by Anderson Analytics. Membership in the group is by invitation only, with a screening process that requires a salary of at least $150,000. More than 80% of members are senior executives, C-level executives or owners of companies involved in strategic planning, marketing, advertising and sales. More than 600 of the group’s 1,657 members responded to the survey.

When marketers were asked what one business book they would recommend to fellow marketers, the top answers was “Good to Great” by Jim Collins followed by “Positioning” by Al Ries and Jack Trout and “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.

Why is it that some people are mere mortals and others are gods? It all comes down to the brand. To stand out you can’t just be great, you need to be different. You need to make a mark on the world that gets noticed. And what gets noticed are the differences.

Powerful brands and powerful ideas are typically based on doing the opposite of convention. The other gurus in the top 10 have all gone against the status quo.

So whether you mark your difference with an idea, visual, color, category, attribute make sure you do something. The next new guru could be you.