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A concept so simple,
people have difficulty understanding
how powerful it is!
• Positioning is owning a piece of consumer’s mind
• Positioning is not what you do to a product
– It’s what you do to the mind of the prospect

• You position the product in the prospect’s mind

– ‘It’s incorrect to call it Product Positioning’ – Ries & Trout

• Colgate is Protection

• Lux is Glamour

• Pond’s DFT is Confidence

• Axe is Sexual Attraction

• Gillette is Quality

The assault on our mind…

• The media explosion
• The product explosion
• The advertising explosion

• So little message gets through that you

ignore the sender and concentrate on
the receiver
• The easy way to get into a person’s mind is to
be first
– Xerox, Kodak, Polaroid, Sun TV, The Hindu, F&L

• If you didn’t get into the mind of your prospect

first, then you have a positioning problem
– Better to be first than be best

• In the positioning era, you must, however, be

first to get into the prospect’s mind
• The basic approach is not to create something
new or different, but manipulate what’s already
in the mind
• To find a unique position, you must ignore
conventional logic
• Conventional logic says you find concept inside
– Not true; look inside prospect’s mind

• You won’t find an uncola idea inside 7-up; you

find it inside cola drinker’s head
‘You concentrate
on the perceptions of the prospect,
not the reality of the product’
- Al Ries & Jack Trout
‘It’s difficult to change behaviour,
but easy to work with it’
- Paco Underhill
What you need…

• Understand the role of words and how

they affect people
– Turtle vs. Lexus

• Be careful of change
– Disney

• Need vision
– Long term / Not on technology or fad
What you need…

• Courage
– To slug it out when others watch and wait

• Objectivity
– You need a backboard / a springboard

• Simplicity
– Not complicated or convoluted
What you need…
• Subtlety
– Unique position and appeal that’s not narrow

• Willingness to sacrifice
– The case of Nyquil
– Rexona wooing male and female

• Patience
– Geographical roll out / Demographic /

• Global outlook
– Taj Mahal tea
• Start by looking not at the product but at the
position in the market that you wish to occupy, in
relation to competition
• Think about how the brand will answer the main
consumer questions
– What will it do for me that others will not?
– Why should I believe you?

• Try to keep it short and make every word count

and be as specific as possible
– Vagueness opens the way to confused executions

• Keep the positioning up-do-date

– Give as careful consideration to change as you did to
the original statement

• Look for a Key Insight!

– An ‘Accepted Consumer Belief’
What is key insight?
• Key Insight is ‘seeing below the surface’ /
‘seeing inside the consumer’
• Insight expresses the totality of all that we know
from seeing inside the consumer
• An insight is a single aspect of this that we use
to gain competitive advantage
• By identifying a specific way…
– That the brand can either solve a problem or
– Create an opportunity for the consumer
Key Insight
‘I wish to get married
to a handsome prince’
Key Insight
‘Fragrance of my current talc does not last long
and I miss opportunities to enjoy life’
Key Insight
‘Soap leaves my skin
feeling dry and tight’
More on key insight…
• It will require two separate thoughts to be related
to each other in a new and fresh way

• Insight will generally be enduring

• Often the process will lead to several insights

• The one to use is the one that offers to be the

source of greatest competitive advantage
More on key insight…

• No need for insight to change if you have

identified the higher-order needs of

• Keep asking ‘why’ to find the real need

behind the obvious insight

• Remember, the insight is always the basis

for a brand’s positioning
How to find one?
• What are the ways in which the category / brand
can improve someone’s life?
• What are the conflicting needs that people face
and that the brand can solve?
• How important is it that the product delivers?
Who will notice?
• What is standard of excellence in the category?
• With every answer you get, you need to probe
– ‘Why is that?’
The 3C’s of positioning

• Be Crystal clear
• Be Consumer-based
– Be relevant and credible to the consumer
– Write in consumer language and from consumer’s view point

• Be Competitive
– Be distinctive
– Focus on building brand elements into powerful discriminator
– Be persuasive
– Be sustainable
And then…

• The brand name!

• The name is the first point of contact

between the message and the mind

• ‘The brand name is a knife that cuts the

mind to let the brand message inside’
– Ries & Trout
• It’s not the goodness or badness of the name in
an aesthetic sense that determines
– It’s the appropriateness of the same

• Name begins the positioning process, tells the

prospect what the product’s major benefit is
– Fair & Lovely
– Close Up
– Krack
– Head & Shoulders
– Vaseline Intensive Care Body Lotion
Checklist: Brand name
• Should be simple
• Should be acceptable in all key languages
• Should be appropriate when geographically spread
• Should be amenable for easy registration