Repositioning: Marketing in an Era of Competition, Change, and Crisis

by Jack Trout with Steve Rivkin

Repositioning by Jack Trout (1935-2017) is a follow-up to a book called Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, which Trout co-wrote with Al Ries 30 years prior.

Positioning is a competitive strategy, which Trout defines as “how you differentiate yourself in the mind of your prospect.”  Repositioning is about adjusting perceptions about you or about your competition.  Trout stresses simplicity–you need one powerful differentiating idea, the more obvious the better.

Positioning is not an insular activity because it depends on what your prospects are thinking, as well as your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Trout praised Alfred Sloan (chairman of General Motors from 1937 to 1956) who worked incognito as an assistant service manager in car dealerships from time to time, in order to stay in touch with customers. Trout compares that with GM executives in recent years who are so out of touch with car buyers, they ride to work in chauffeur-driven limousines rather than drive themselves.

Repositioning requires publicity. Trout describes the relationship of PR and advertising as linear. They need to be coordinated under a common strategy, but too often PR agencies and ad agencies are working against each other.  He also criticizes the advertising industry for meaningless slogans.

Jack Trout has worked in advertising and marketing for four decades and he has written or co-written 15 books.  I appreciate the author’s pragmatic and sometimes irreverent views, although there is a significant amount of overlap in these books and he says as much in the introduction.

Trout, Jack, and Steve Rivkin. Repositioning Marketing in an Era of Competition, Change and Crisis. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. Buy from

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