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Jack Trout and Al Ries brought the concept of positioning into the marketing mainstream with their book,
Positioning, the Battle for Your Mind, published in 1980 and since updated several times. (I highly recommend
that any of you who are actually interested in a career in marketing should get a copy of the book and read it
carefully.) In brief, they define positioning as the mentalshortlist that a consumer has in her mind when she
starts to think about shopping for something. Your brand should have a position somewhere on that list, as
close to the top of it as possible. If you are not on the list at all, your brand will probably not be considered.
That mental shortlist will typically be about 5 to 7 items long and often shorter, almost never longer. For
example, when consumers start thinking about buying a new car, they don’t think of the dozens of
possibilities out there, they think about choices with which they are already familiar and which stand out from
the crowd.
The authors argue that it is the job of marketers to make their brands seem different from competitors and
different in ways that the intended target audience will see as important and preferable.
“Positioning”then becomes a process of figuring out a short summary about the brand to make it memorable
and likable. Often, this is summarized in a single phrase or sentence, like BMW’s “Ultimate Driving Machine”
or Disney’s “Where dreams come true.”
Such statements often take the form of what advertising people call a “tagline” or “slogan.” But this is not
always the case. Sometimes brands use multiple approaches to create a brand image that communicates a
message to set it apart from competitors. For example, Volvo is widely perceived as a very safe car that will
protect people inside the car even when there is a bad accident. Recently, Subaru has also started to use the
same idea, and I would argue that this makes Subaru look somewhat like a “me too” brand, one that is
Johnny come lately“to a category that Volvo established years ago.
Chosen Company Prompt: Microsoft **
For this paper what you need to do is pick a Fortune 500 company and discuss its positioning and the
tactics/actions it uses to get this positioning to “stick”in someone’s mind. As stated above, choosing the
company must be done ahead of time so that no two people pick the same company. The first person to pick
a company “owns”that example.
NOTE: Please refer back to your Course Summary for your due date on this paper so you can prepare well
in advance.
EXPECTATIONS: Length is 5 to 9 pages excluding title page, executive summary (on a page by itself),
reference list, and any appendices. Follow APA formatting. Do not include a table of contents.
Note that the grading rubric states that using correct APA formatting is worth 10% of the total grade on
your paper, so if you do a poor job with this, it could easily cost you a letter grade on the assignment.
Therefore, effort is required to adhere to APA standards.
To clarify what an Executive Summary is, be sure to read this article:
Links to an external site.
Also, click on the attached APA sample paper
Download APA sample paper
that you must read and which you should probably print out for yourself. Note that the paper is not just a
sample, it also explains how to use elements of APA style. On top of that, here on Canvas under resources,
there is a list of APA help documents as well, please be sure to read over all of the resources within that
section to help you write your paper. In addition, be sure to utilize the writing tutor to help show you how to
improve your paper. Make those changes BEFORE submitting your paper for a final grade.
Identifying Market Segments and Targets
Crafting the Brand Positioning

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