“Positioning” by Al Ries and Jack Trout: Anything for 4GW or 5GW?

I recently read Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

This is really mostly a marketing/business book, but I am looking for ideas I can swipe from elsewhere fro 4gw/5gw.

I love the subtitle: The Battle for Your Mind. I am going to crib and re-use that soon.

The authors define positioning as what you do to the mind of the prospective customer of your product. Finding a position for product in the prospects mind is the key. This is difficult because all prospects are over communication- they got to much coming at them…and they is only so much room in their mind.

The authors also suggest that successful positioning will not involve the introduction of something new and different into the prospects mind, but will instead try to tie into something else already in the prospect mind.

That sort of sounds like the “embrace and extend” idea to me.

The authors write:

…the average person cannot tolerate being he or she is wrong. Mind-changing is the road to advertising disaster.

The authors suggest since people are over-communicated to, that they try to keep things simple to cope (optimizing the OODA…hmm). Therefore, if you are going to target a person’s mind, keep the message super simple and focused. They write:

You have to sharpen your message to cut into the mind. You have to jettison the ambiguities, simplify the message, and then you simplify it some more if you want to make a long lasting impression.

Here is example I came up with for simplifying a message:

Instead of PNM, Gap-shrinking, DoEE, SysAdmin, A-Z…think
“doing right by bringing liberty and justice to all”. BTW, the “justice
for all” as a substitute message comes from a commentator on Barnett’s
site. If I find the link I will add it.

Anyways, the book has some useful ideas for 4GW as information warfare/strategic communications/political theater/ message-sending. It has some application to the memetic engineering aspects of 5GW.

Lastly, I want to mention briefly a positioning exercise they mention that they performed for the Catholic Church (I think for some lay leaders)that I found interesting.

They started with:

What is the the role of the Catholic Church in the Modern World?

…and worked there way to:

[…]the role of the Church as that of keeping Christ alive in the minds of each new generation and relating his word to the problems of their time.

Wow. Simple. Direct. Focused.

[Cross-posted to Dreaming 5GW

3 Responses

  1. […] – Positioning:The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout (see also this) […]

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