Classic book about marketing, published in 1980. Positioning is the act of communicating to your user what your product is. Consumers are constantly bombarded with advertisements and are overloaded with information, so they cannot absorb your message unless it is very simple (no need for poetic wording in the slogan).
Always position your product to be the #1 in some category, since nobody remembers #2 of any category; if #1 is already taken by somebody else, then choose a slightly different niche so you can be first. Essentially this is like finding a “hole” in the mind of the consumer that’s simple to understand, yet no product exists yet. Point out flaws in the market leader and how you’re different from them.
Naming is important because every word carries certain connotations from the get-go that are expensive to undo with marketing. Avoid no-name initials since they’re hard to remember (unless they’re popular already), making marketing much more difficult.
A name should only stand for one product position at a time, so if your name is already known for some product, it’s bad to launch different products under the same name as it dilutes your brand. If the new product is similar then the dilution cost is small, otherwise you’re better off launching using a different name.
Most of the material is covered in the first half of the book, and the second half gets quite repetitive. Since it was published over 40 years ago, some of the examples are outdated: products that have faded into obscurity and we have to trust the authors that their positioning was successful. All of the evidence is presented using anecdotal examples but without data support so it’s hard to know how much to trust the findings. It’s easy to think of products which don’t try to be #1 in any obvious niche (eg: hotel chains are pretty interchangeable) but are successful anyways.