You can buy the original 210pp classic book from Amazon if you prefer, but here’s our own take on the concept of Positioning, in the slightly shorter space of two paragraphs.

The human mind hates being bombarded with too much information. So in any particular product category, it will remember only a very small number of brands (think Coke, think Pepsi, think …who?).

The more obvious the ‘position’ that a product occupies, the more likely it is to embed itself in the mind of a potential purchaser (think Volvo, think Safety, think… Volvo-drivers).

“The human mind is always on the lookout for ways to simplify”

As an agency we believe in positioning. It’s a technique we’ve used to great effect over the years to achieve some really dramatic increases in sales.

But what Messrs Ries and Trout may not have noticed is that memory works differently in the age of the internet. The human mind is always on the lookout for ways to simplify the amount of stuff it has to remember. So now it often passes the job of brand recall onto someone else altogether.

And that someone is Google.

Look like a leader

As our own research has demonstrated, that is particularly bad news for business-to-business brands, who – let’s face it – may not be as intrinsically interesting as cola or cars.

“Buyers assume the top two or three sites on Google are the market leaders in their field”

With the trade press generating less and less awareness and demand through advertising and PR, younger B2B buyers now just look to Google when they want to make a product selection. What’s more, many of these buyers will assume that the top two or three sites they encounter are actually the market leaders in their field.

So work hard on SEO and get into the top 3. That should go without saying.

And of course, be sure that the site on the other end of that click stands out like a beacon – that it looks as though you, and you alone, are the market’s dominant player.

Because – in the age of Google – just looking like the leader can get you a long way towards actually becoming one.


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