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Book reviews for "Ries,_Al" sorted by average review score:

Marketing Warfare: How to Use Military Principles to Develop Marketing Strategies
Published in Audio Cassette by Listen U.S.A. (1986)
Authors: Al Ries, Jack Trout, and Riesstrout
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very useful
the marketing as a one big war. al ries did it again with a brilliant book that take you to the most important and interesting fights and wars. cola, hamburger, cars rental... its looks so simple after you read it, and it really make you hungry to go out there and fight. read it!

Posicionamiento: El Concepto Que Ha Revolucionado LA Comunicacion Publicitaria Y LA Mercadotecnia (Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind)
Published in Paperback by McGraw-Hill/Spanish Imports (1991)
Authors: Al Ries and Jack Trout
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Microbranding: Build a Powerful Personal Brand and Beat Your Compe
Published in Hardcover by Leading Authorities Inc. (15 January, 2002)
Authors: T. Scott Gross and Al Ries
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Make Your Mark
This is a great book, easy to read and packed with ideas to help individuals make their mark. Until reading MicroBranding, I had never thought of myself and how others see me as a brand. Yet I am amazed at how T. Scott Gross' information pertains to all areas of my life. In both my career and personal relationships, I have unique qualities and I need to be able to articulate them to others if I am to be successful. T. Scott Gross also recommends that we develop personal mission statements to keep ourselves focused on our goals in life. He gives lots of examples and stories and is quite entertaining. Lots of great networking tips and ideas too!

A superbly presented & highly recommended business reference
A "microbrand" is a product brand that is related to, or which sits atop the foundation of, a larger national or global product brand name. Micro Branding: Build A Powerful Personal Band & Beat Your Competition by microbrand expert T. Scott Gross is a straightforward, step-by-step, "how to" guide to building a profitable local or personal microbrand brand. How to manage and uphold the good reputation of the newly established microbrand, the option of adopting a theme, training employees, gems of advice and much more make Micro Branding a superbly presented and highly recommended business reference. Scott Gross' basic message for the entrepreneur and corporate manager is "Don't *try* to be the best brand in the world. Be the best brand for the world, and the market will reward you richly." Reading Micro Branding will show you how to go about doing just that!

Microbranding will become the new buzz word of 2002!
As with Mr. Gross' previous book Positively Outrageous Service, I found Microbranding to be extremely well-written. It is not only grounded in apllicable, impactful content, but also written in a manner that is entertaining and fun!

In my business (and my personal life), I have found that we often complicate issues until they either become too big to tackle or lost in the confusion. In MicroBranding, Mr. Gross clearly explains that this need not be the case when building a personal or local brand. Using real-world examples, he illustrates that building a powerful microbrand is both attainable and necessary. Understanding that you simply do not need a global brand to compete in your niche is one of the powerful pieces of information I gained from reading this book.

Horse Sense: How to Pull Ahead on the Business Track
Published in Paperback by Plume (1992)
Authors: Al Ries and Jack Trout
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Good Read
Explodes common myths about prerequistes to success. Illustrates other criteria mainly external focus for doing well. Success has been equated directly with wealth, one aggrandizes, this in my opinion needs to be viewed with a pinch of salt, at the same time not underestimating the liberating effect wealth can have on the way we live our lives. All in all an easy read, however number of examples cited by authors could have been curtailed.

Practical Advice
Ries and Trout pull no punches in telling you how most people really get ahead. Hint: postive thinking and affirmations have very little to do with it. It's all about how to use the outside world (read: connections) to get ahead, rather than trying to do everything yourself. A real eye-opener.

This is a great book and worth tracking down. And if you like it, check out Ries and Trout's other books, like "Marketing Warfare." Great stuff.

Identifies the paths to success - in plain English.
One of the most practical books I've ever read. Clearly describes various paths to success - those that are obvious and several that are not so obvious. I immediately identified three of the "horses" I've ridden in my career. Also, found new ideas that can be easily and practically applied. (After reading this, you may find yourself identifying the "horses" others are riding.) Written in an easy to understand style that is tongue-in-cheek, but very serious about the subject.

Marketing Warfare
Published in Paperback by McGraw-Hill Trade (01 November, 1997)
Authors: Al Ries and Jack Trout
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Highly Recommended!
Al Ries and Jack Trout's book marches to a military drumbeat, as you might guess from the dedication to Karl von Clausewitz, "one of the greatest marketing strategists the world has ever known." Advice abounds for the testosterone-impaired, including football references and quotations from Gen. Patton. It offers an incisive, if militaristic, strategic marketing perspective. At one point the authors feel the need to clarify: "We don't mean [to advise] undermining leaders by dynamiting their plants or interdicting their rail centers. That's a physical way of looking at marketing warfare." This book proves that the "us-against-them" mindset thrives, even in this era of joint ventures. If you believe Bill Gates succeeded because he was a nice young man, this book probably isn't for you. Otherwise, snap to attention, soldier, for a few lessons in the art of marketing warfare. We [...] recommend this book to those who need to influence consumers' minds. Read it quick - before your enemy does.

A Direct Hit!
This book by Al Ries and Jack Trout is brilliant. It takes the comparison of a military scenario and aligns competitive tactics to the world of marketing products and companies. This is a wonderfully clear-cut text with a minimum of 'jargon'. Any reader will find this enjoyable and immediately useful to whatever activity in commerce they seek to expand and prosper with. This text covers competitive tactics to flank, attack and out-maneuver any counter intention to your companies prosperity and bring off a decisive victory. It also contains facinating insights into other companies experiences that helps you understand what pitfalls to avoid in carving out your own companies strategies. It gives you a complete understanding of how to be inventive and at the same time apply successful 'out-flanking' and 'out-witting' tactics to every battle you engage in against your competition to win the hearts of the consumers. A brilliant work from top to bottom, as well as an exceptionally entertaining read. This is definitely one fo the best marketing books ever written.

This book taught me more than Harvard Business School
While working at Intuit, which pioneered many sophisticated marketing techniques in the software industry, I asked the marketing manager what she considered the most important marketing books to read. "Marketing Warfare" was one of the top three. I devoured it.

The book starts with the principle that marketing is primarily about psychology, and making your product synonymous with a category IN THE CONSUMER'S MIND. Coke=cola. McDonald's=fast food. "Marketing Warfare" describes how you can do this, and how you can compete for a position in the consumer's mind if you're in an industry already dominated by a leader.

I learned more solid, applicable concepts from this book than I did from the first year Marketing curriculum of Harvard Business School.

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind
Published in Paperback by McGraw-Hill Trade (13 December, 2000)
Authors: Al Ries and Jack Trout
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A must read, but little practical examples
A classic in marketing how-tos, the authors explain the importance of offering something for sale that appeals to the buyer, not to the seller, creator, or manufacturer. The product is positioned relative to the consumer, and her needs and viewpoints of value. The basic theory is that you get into the mind of your consumer, and position your product accordingly. And on that point, almost anyone would have to agree.

You will not find the gory details in this book that you'll need to execute a marketing plan, though, but the general theme is examined, as well as various positioning examples (everything from Kleenex to Heinz Ketchup - or was that pickles?).

I was particularly disappointed about a lack of methodology to reach a positioning statement, other than some fairly broad "rules", lightly applied throughout the book. There were six questions at the end that were helpful, but did not constitute a rigorous method - well, any method really - to create a "position". If anything, I would have wished for the method that could be used to create positioning for a product, or to test a company's current positioning, rather than have as many examples of positioning failures.

Some of the author's examples seemed contradictory, and especially when the authors claimed that brand extension amounts to a virtual see-saw - one product steals the brand identity from another (Heinz Ketchup vs. Heinz Pickles - who is Heinz!?). From hindsight, it can be seen that some brand extensions have been extremely successful, while others aren't. It should shock no one that people don't want to use baking soda as anti-perspirant, for instance, and therefore completely explaining why we use Arm & Hammer to cook and deodorize the refrigerator, but do not think of it as a personal hygiene brand. I can't think of anything that I would remove from the refrigerator and rub under my arms.

In any case, this remains a quick, good read with short chapters. The examples illustrate the concepts, but you'll need to follow this up with other positioning and marketing examples in order to position your product within your industry.

A must read book
This is probably the best marketing book that I ever read. If you have just started to read about marketing, I think you must start reading this book. You will learn about the basic concept of marketing: positioning. An advice: don't loose your time reading The New Positioning, that in my point of view is an attempt to bring up-to-date Positioning. Read Positioning again. My best regards, Alexandre

Read it again.
This and "Marketing Warfare" by the same authors are probably the most practical and useful books on marketing ever written. The "positioning" concept is directly applicable to both consumer and industrial market situations. But you'll need to think a bit about the concepts and how to apply them to your particular strategic situation. (Well, of course you will! That's what makes marketing interesting.)

I reference these books throughout my marketing courses and seminars. They give students a different perspective and make for interesting discussions.

But how could there be only 5 reviews of this excellent book??? Guess it and Warfare are older books ('81 & '86), so most of us read them before Amazon reviews. RECOMMENDATION: Read them again!

Published in Audio Cassette by HarperAudio (1996)
Author: Al Ries
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Great book, application pays dividends!
About five years ago my colleagues and I at a technology start-up called Inforte found this book. As we grew from 15 to 450 professionals the counsel in this book was a life saver! Inevitably new members of the executive team would want to execute line extensions, get into training, outsourcing, software development, etc. but we did as Al advised and stuck to our guns - focusing only on services. His point - focus is like the sun, as it spreads out it becomes weaker and diluted. On the other hand, concentrated like a laser it is at its strongest.

This book was the best and easiest way to explain to new team members our philosophy. Three years later we were able to meet Al and ask him to join our Board - where his continued application of focus, the brand strength, the increased margins, the stability - all had tremendous payoff. I have read all of his books and if you can only read one - this is it! A great book to give starting Entrepreneurs and pays off large dividends for anyone running a business. It is also a quick read and keeps a fun, macro perspective on the topic.

A must read for any CEO
Al, Thank you, for writing this book!

If you are a CEO or Marketing person you should read this book before you launch next business or marketing plan. This book is full of real examples about real companies (like IBM, Boston Market, Sony, and GE) who continue to fall in the trench when they cross over into a new product or service. The book isn't just rhetoric, but stuffed with practical advice on how to keep ahead of the competition by staying focused.

One my favorite lines from the book (paraphased)- "Butterflies are not called flying caterpillars because, in the mind, you just don't think of a caterpillar as a butterfly. His point being, if you are the market for inexpensive automobile, you are more likely to look at Honda, than BMW's newest low-end car.

Superb. Read it.
Al Ries is one of the sharpest marketing minds around. Focus is simply yet another excellent book he's put out. Read it and take heed: trying to do too much . . . trying to be too many things to too many people . . . diluting your efforts, money, and time over more projects than you can profitably and effectively handle -- these will all literally put you out of business. Many of his stories are based on big corporations. In my own case, I'm a one-man operation -- and the lessons are at least as true for me as they are for the hundred million dollar businesses. In my opinion, anything written by Al Ries (and his former co-author Jack Trout) is some of the best stuff anywhere.

22 Immutable Laws of Branding, The
Published in Digital by PerfectBound ()
Authors: Al Ries and Laura Ries
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Content is Fine, Don't Like eBook
I think that the content of this book looks OK, but I made a BAD decision in buying the eBook version and find the format to be EXTREMELY user-hostile so I have not read as much as I would have liked. I have a branding project going on at work & didn't want to wait to have the hard copy of this book shipped. HUGE MISTAKE. I had never purchased/used an eBook before - and probably won't again. It took quite some time just to download because it wasn't obvious that you had to load the eBoook Reader BEFORE you can even download the file. Finally got that taken care of and opened the book with the intention of printing out the sections I wanted to read (while comfortably sitting on my sofa) - only to find out that I can only print out 27 pages per WEEK. The interface is so clumsy, it will be virtually impossible to read on screen. Even worse, I ended up downloading it to my computer at work and it doesn't appear that I will be able to take MY book home with me so I will have to stay late at work if I want to read the stupid thing. For anyone like myself who is unfamiliar with this format - It is NOT like a PDF - you will be paying extra for something that may not allow you to read it the way you would like.

What "Principia Mathematica" from Sir Isaac Newton did for science, this book will do for branding. If you are a designer, copywriter, brand consultant, marketing executive, Jack Welsh's new guy at GE, Bill Gates, in fact any CEO or entrepreneur, this is the one book on branding you need to read! As a designer and brand consultant for more than 20 years, it was illuminating to find one book that says it all. What I have tried for years to put across to clients (from small to large) is now cristalised by these wonderfull authors - or shall I say genius' - in a clear and conscise manner. Illustrating and proving the 22 immutable laws with common sense and solid facts of the top global brands, makes it credible and so easy to understand and absorb even for the novice. And to quote the authors: "Break these laws and you do so at your own peril." It might be worth your while to know these laws.

Bottom-Up Marketing
Published in Paperback by Plume (1990)
Authors: Al Ries and Jack Trout
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Make a plan at another angle
I can learn a lot of insights from this book. It teaches us how to make a plan at another angle. Unlike the traditional top down approach that decide what to do (strategy) and then how to do it (tactics), Trout and Ries suggest that tactics dictate strategies, which is "Bottom up marketing".

As bottom up managers first find a tactic that will work in the mind and then build it into a strategy (they work from the specific to the general), it is easier for them to exploit new opportunities, which is different from the top down managers that they are limited in the existing market. But remember to focus on only one tactic! Do better with less!

Bottom up marketing also emphasizes on change in the organization so as to find new opportunities in the market. Unless there is change in name, product, service, price but not mind or market, any strategy is unlikely to be successful.

Throughout the book, examples are widely used to show us the success of organizations that conduct bottom up marketing and the failure of those who conduct top down marketing, making it easier to understand.

Read it and try to plan at another angle!

Glass house strategy vs reality
Unlike "The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing", Bottom Up Marketing is not merely a re-hash of "Focus" and "Positioning".

The core focus of this book is the distinction made between strategy and tactics in marketing. A grand strategy is often created that is perfect and executed flawlessly - in the minds of those who create it - The details (tactics) will of course fall into place. This, contend the authors, is how many a marketing campaign is carried out, often without the smashing success expected.

Bottom-Up Marketing is just that, developing a marketing strategy from the bottom up. A successful strategy can be crafted only after the needs, wants, and minds of the consumers are understood. Once the opportunity is identified, tactics are developed to satisfy the need, focus and refine the actions of the company. Once a realistic picture emerges, a strategy can be created such that the entire organization can take the correct actions and take advantage of opportunities that actually exist.

Intelligence about the marketplace and opportunities presented within must come directly from the source, those on the front lines in touch with consumers. Strategy and resource allocation comes from the top.

It's a good book with a clear simple message, combined with a dash of Trout and Ries' humor.

A nice book to be read but with limited new ideas
This book has only a couple of new ideas. The rest come from "Positioning". The concept of bottom-up is nice but I am not sure if that's a new concept or a redefinition on tactic and strategy. Obviously, either of tactic and strategy must work. Otherway, something is wrong. The idea of bottom-up could be stated as a redefinition of tactic (as the key competing concept) and strategy (as the modeling of the organization to be able to run and follow the tactic). If so, the flow is down-up. On the other hand, authors are too much focused on the mental positiong concept. Tactics (or strategies if you prefer) could arise from many other sources. I recommend reading "the mind of strategist" as another way of looking for competing striking concepts. All in all, this book is nice and easy to read and some ideas can be got from it. I specially enjoy its saying as "the road to a disaster is paved with improvements" or "most of the guys in the exciting fire line fall, while the others remain" (by the way, where do you prefer to be?). They comprise usefull advises for surviving within a company, or do you have a different goal?.

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
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To get more of this book, you should their earlier works...
Trout and Ries are two of the most far-thinking individuals extant in the world of marketing. However, to get the most out of their later works (and, as well as this book, I highly recommend "The 22 Immutable Laws of BRANDING" by Ries and his wife), it is best to read them in the sequence in which they were written. If you don't understand "positioning" you may very well not follow the analytical process which continues with these "sequels", as evidenced by some of the negative comments from readers. First, one has to differentiate the process of "marketing" by which is meant the bringing to market, or distribution, of a product or service, and "marketing" by which is meant promotion and advertising. Microsoft and USA Today are not successful because of their advertising or promotions, but because of the manner in which their products are distributed. What these books deal with is how companies promote themselves, not distribution channels which which create an advantage in a given industry. The books deal with the establishment of an identity, a position, which will be good for years to come, not with campaigns which may increase sales in a given quarter. Why these books are so important is because, if one doesn't understand the basic concept of positioning, and the rules which logically follow it, one could easily create campaigns (or develop products to be promoted under a brand name)which actually harm or destroy the company's position in the mind of the consumer. Books by Trout and Ries should not only be required reading for those in promotion/advertising, but for all executives.

The handbook of essential marketing ideas.
This book was required reading in one of my all-time favorite university classes, entrepreneurship. That was my first contact with the 22 Laws, and I have never been sorry. Not only has the knowledge come in useful as I try to market my own small service business, but I can see how other companies have applied (or ignored) the Laws, and what the outcome has been.

THE GOOD: 1) Rather than reading like a textbook, this clever work is more like a small handbook of essential marketing ideas. Its 132 pages are divided up into 22 very readable chapters of about 4-5 pages each. It is very easy to take in a chapter at any time and still learn an invaluable lesson about some aspect of catching your prospect's eye. 2) After each chapter I found myself really thinking about the concept, and trying to figure out how I could apply it to my situation. The chapters have enough great information that they really can be considered little packets of motivation. And who doesn't want more motivation to go and make his or her product (or service) even better? 3) Scattered throughout the book are some really great and inspiring examples of companies that have used the 22 Laws to their advantage. The chapter on the Law of Candor explains how Avis effectively played off of its campaign that it was the number 2 rental car company. The Law of Focus talks about how FedEx succeeded by focusing on small packages and overnight delivery. The Law of the Mind shows how Apple computers beat out the Altair 8800 in the late 70's.

THE BAD: I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but I can see some areas that other people may not find too attractive. For example, 1) There are no specifics about how to apply each law to your situation, or even how to go about applying it. It is left entirely up to you to see how the law fits your situation, and how you are going to apply it. 2) This book is written like a How-to-win-at-Chess book. It is about the mental dueling that goes on in the marketing world. If you are not into marketing or how to mentally outwit your competition - then you may not like this book.

If you like marketing, clever and witty ideas or the kind of thrill that comes from playing chess then this book is for you! Sure to become a business classic, this book is worth every bit of time and energy spent investing in its powerful concepts.

Has Your Marketing Plan Failed?
If your marketing plan has failed, then the chances are that you have not adhered to several of the 22 laws which are described in the clear and concise wording on 132 pages in this book. Each law or chapter is usually about five pages long, which requires only a short attention span to read it quickly. I do not recommend reading the book in one evening but to read a chapter and then reflect how these laws effect your company or products.

I will only list those laws that I found most important for me:

Law 3.) The Law of the Mind - It is better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace. Examples of this are the personal computer market with MITS Alistair 800 being the first in the marketplace; Apple was the second in the marketplace but first in the mind of the people. The same example is shown with different companies such as Remington Rand and IBM.

Law 4.) The Law of Perception - Marketing is not a battle of products, it's a battle of perceptions. You can have a much better product than your competitor but perception wins out most of the time over product. A great example of this is the battle of the imported japanese car market of Honda, Toyota and Nissan as well as the soft drink war between Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Law 12.) The Law of Line Extension - There is an irresistable pressure to extend the equity of the brand. One of the best chapters of this book explains how a winning product is turned into a loser by creating a spin-off version of the original product. Marketing managers continue to make this fatal mistake today of taking a successful brank like Coke, then creating Cherry Coke, Coke Classic, Caffine Free Coke etc., Engaging in line extension dilutes the original successful brand and the new version will never recoup the market share lost by the leading product. In the end there is an overall market share drop for the entire brand. Other examples of this is IBM's flirtation with the personal computer market, which was already dominated by the Apples, Commodores and Ataris.

The book is very condensed and I am sure a lot of the business scenarios depicted are more complex than they appear. Yes the book is rather old but a lot of these theories still have held true through the internet boom and bust cycle experienced over the last several years.

All people in the field of marketing should have these laws chiseled into their crainium somewhere.

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