This is Why Positioning is Absolutely Critical to Your Brand’s Success... Marketing Guru Laura Ries Explains


Laura Ries 2

Looking at the word search, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Most likely, Google.

How about a refreshing soft drink? Probably Coca-Cola or Pepsi.

Why is this the case?

The truth is, these brands have successfully hijacked an open space in your mind.

It’s referred to as positioning—and it’s what makes a brand rise to the top or crash and burn.


“The essence of positioning and building a brand is narrowing the focus so that you can stand for something.”  —Laura Ries


More About This Episode

In this episode of Unlock People’s Potential, Guerric de Ternay interviews marketing guru, Laura Ries (@lauraries). A co-founder of the company Ries and Ries, Laura has been working as a focusing consultant for the past 20 years.

She has worked with top corporations around the world including Microsoft, Ford, Disney, Merck, Frito-Lay, and many others. Wow! 

Laura does an outstanding job of explaining not only the concept of positioning, but also the do’s and don’ts of advertising. She also discusses some of her own techniques that have helped company’s reinforce their positioning strategy.

Laura gives crystal-clear examples of how top corporations have used positioning to become leaders in their market or gain a share of an existing market. She also addresses topics such as: 

  • How a brand should go about building a position or a new product in an emerging market
  • What to do when you have to compete with a leader in your market
  • The main purpose of advertising
  • How you can use a Visual Hammer and a Battlecry to reinforce your position in a market
  • And much more!


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More About Laura Ries

Laura Ries is a leading brand strategist, bestselling author, sought-after speaker and popular television personality.

In 1994, Laura founded Ries & Ries, a consulting firm with her father and partner Al Ries, the legendary positioning-pioneer. Together they consult with Fortune 500 companies and many other companies around the world on brand strategy.

They have traveled to over 60 countries from Chile to China, India to Indonesia, teaching the fundamental principles of marketing. With Al, Laura is the co-author of five books on branding that have been worldwide bestsellers. Her first solo book was Visual Hammer. Her latest book, Battlecry, was published in September 2015.

Laura is a frequent marketing analyst on major news programs from the O’Reilly Factor to Squawk Box. She regularly appears on Fox News, Fox Business, CNBC, CNN, HLN, and is frequently quoted by the Associated Press, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets.


How To Compete With A Market Leader

Drawing upon the previous example of Google, it’s fair to say that Google now owns the word search… the search position in the mindSo, what happens when another brand tries to take over this position?

Well, take the example of Microsoft and their search engine Bing—they ended up going nowhere because this position, or hole, was already taken. Bing didn’t take how people make buying decisions into accounts.

So, in order for Microsoft to have Bing enter the consumer’s mind, they would have to do something slightly different in order to find an open hole they could occupy. Why? Because once a hole is occupied, you can’t take it over from somebody else.

To elaborate on this, take the example of Red Bull.

Red bull became the market leader via a well designed positioning strategy

As with all categories, there was a period when the energy drink category was still an open space in the mind of the collective consciousness. To be more precise, the category didn’t really exist yet.

What Red Bull did was to create the energy drink category—and they successfully positioned their brand name into the consumers’ mind. With time, RB went from having regional popularity to gaining worldwide dominance. In terms of market share in 2013, Red Bull was the highest-selling energy drink in the world, selling 5.387 billion cans.   

How would another brand be able to compete against Red Bull? What would they have to do?

Some tried to make a ‘better’ energy drink… one that tasted better, had more energy, and was less expensive. They essentially copied a lot of what RB was doing, especially RB’s small 8.3 oz. can, which was a unique identifier—a can which gave consumers the impression of a powerful drink.

They all copied RB and tried to make it better, but that’s not the way to be successful.

The best way is to be the opposite of the leader—and that’s exactly what the company, Hansen’s Natural did. They took the opposite approach to RB.

They came out with a much larger sized 16 oz. can illustrated with big, beautiful claw marks—and reinforced that monster sized can with a perfect brand name, Monster!  

They ended up becoming the strong #2 brand to Red Bull—all because they did the opposite.

On the other hand, Coca-Cola eventually jumped into the energy drink market with brands like KMX, Tab Energy, and Full Throttle. Unlike Monster, these brands went nowhere. Why? For starters, they arrived late to the game—they also didn’t really do anything different. In other words, they didn’t position against Red Bull.

Money is certainly part of the brand recognition equation and, Coca-Cola sure has plenty of it.  But creating a successful product is all about good marketing and getting the positioning and branding right… from the name, to the visual, to the packaging.


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Show Notes about Positioning and Increasing Brand Awareness


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