I like the way Tom thinks - I don't always agree with him - obviously, but anyone who helps me expand or question my thinking is worth spending time with.
The debate started when Jennifer linked to my post, Managing the Total Customer Lifetime and Tom replied with the following:
...But I believe that the Ries' quote is meant to convey his dated idea (my opinion) of positioning. In Ries' opinion, the word Chevy doesn't mean successful to his hypothetical car buyer. And Ries doesn't believe it ever could, because it already occupies a well-established place in the buyer's mind...
I replied with:
...Do you really think positioning is dated? I think it is still a valid concept - owning a place in the persons mind, it makes sense...
The remaining comments are too long to capture their essence in snippet form.
But to summarize, I think Tom is confusing positioning with business evolution. Companies innovating and evolving to serve different markets, which has happened successfully more than once or twice (but certainly not every day). Tom brings up Nokia, which he says used to be in the Timber business, among other things. Sony and 3M are good examples from 'Built to Last' (Collins & Porras).
My contention is that businesses can evolve, but only if they meet or exceed consumers expectations of Cost, Quality and Delivery.
- Is the cost reasonable for what I'm getting?
- Is it a quality product?
- Does it deliver (meet/exceed) on my expectations?
So, what do you think? Is positioning dead?