5 positioning quotes for inspiration and direction

5 positioning quotes for inspiration and direction
How do you ensure you take a fresh look at your positioning? We are often inspired by practical examples and the thoughts of other professionals. We regularly come across pieces or quotes that we underline for ourselves, and perhaps you can benefit from them too. Therefore, we share 5 compelling positioning quotes that provide inspiration and direction, and explain why we find them interesting.

Quote 1: Positioning as a benchmark in a changing world

Marketing is not a static discipline. Marketing is a constantly changing discipline and positioning is one of those revolutionary changes that keeps the marketing field alive, interesting, exciting, and fascinating.
– Philip Kotler (marketing author)


What happens to your positioning when the world or market in which you operate changes permanently?

Marketing and communication are strongly subject to trends and changes, and it looks completely different every 10 years. Some companies are able to take a distinctive position each time, how is that possible?

Adaptive positioning

An adaptive positioning works less with fixed strategies and means and more with clearly defined goals. What characterizes an adaptive positioning?

  • Clear core positioning: an adaptive positioning has an unchanging core that serves as a guide or benchmark for everything else. IBM was able to transition from “hardware specialist” to IT service provider because they knew their core was in their IT expertise, not in their products or services.
  • Flexible marketing budget: if only the goal is fixed, the means or medium can change quickly
  • Nothing is ‘done’: the requirements for your website can change tomorrow and that must be taken into account
  • Success is a direction, not a point: evaluating what works and what doesn’t is a continuous process rather than an annual exercise. The goal is to be able to make quick adjustments.

Quote 2: Positioneren van een merk of product

Companies are focused on building products rather than brands. A product is something made in a factory. A brand is something made in the mind. To be successful today, you have to build brands, not products.
– Al Ries, Jack Trout (Writers ‘Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind’)

Everything that is made in a factory can be replicated. Nowadays, the difference is made by the brand. We attach values and emotions to the brand, which make us buy a product from one brand but not from another. Without this distinctive feature, you only compete on price.

Tesla was certainly not the first maker of electric cars but the first brand that managed to attract customers to itself. Oh, and by the way, it goes beyond cars and into the ways we use energy (Tesla Powerwall). It’s great when a brand allows for that.

Quote 3: Positioning sometimes slowly crumbles

As brands become larger, the need to reach greater numbers of customers makes them less edgy and dilutes their unique positioning as they try to please everyone. It is therefore not surprising to find such brands go into a few years of decline before they are able to reinvent themselves.
– Nirmalya Kumar (Visiting Professor of Marketing at London Business School)

How many brands can you think of that this has happened to? The dilution of their position and distinctiveness because they want to include everyone. Think of Armani, where everyone can now walk in as a student, Blackberry, which collapsed as quickly as it rose, or Makro, where no one knows what to look for anymore.

Quote 4: Customer Centricity

Forget ‘branding’ and ‘positioning.’ Once you understand customer behavior, everything else falls into place.
– Thomas G. Stemberg (founder Staples)

Positioning is not something you come up with in an ivory tower. The Segway and Google Glass were brilliant products on paper, but in both cases, the makers could not see that ‘nerd-appeal’ was at odds with large sales volumes.

Therefore, it is essential that the world, needs, and preferences of your customer are thoroughly mapped out before you begin positioning. It provides valuable insights, and it is certainly not uncommon for the first outline of positioning to become clear in this phase.

Quote 5: Everything old is new again

The basic approach of positioning is not to create something new and different, but to manipulate what’s already up there in the mind, to retie the connections that already exist.
– Al Ries, Jack Trout  (Writers ‘Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind’)

A positioning can be compared to a good movie. For example, the blockbuster Alien can be described in three words: Jaws in space. Does that make it unoriginal or not worth it? In any case, the movie was a great success.

A positioning also needs to break with the “established order”. A classic example is the positioning of car rental company Avis, which with its “we try harder” breaks with the traditional role of the number 2 in the market. Instead of competing head-on, Avis states that it is better.

What established patterns or concepts can you identify in your market? Aren’t there some that don’t necessarily have to be “true”? That could be a great starting point for your positioning.

Positioning quotes; inspiration and direction

With these 5 quotes, we hope to provide you with some inspiration and direction when it comes to your own positioning. If you want to learn more about positioning, you can visit merkelijkheid.nl/positioneren or read the book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout. Want to get started right away? Read: Translating Brand Strategy into Positioning in 5 Steps.

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