Once you’ve read absolutely every single word of George Lois’s book “The Art of Advertising”, there is only one other advertising book I usually recommend.

This book isn’t so creative as George Lois’s.

It’s not so inspirational.

But it is simple, and clever, and powerful.

“Positioning: The Battle for your Mind” by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

Like George Lois’s book, I can’t do it justice in a couple of paragraphs.

But ‘positioning’ shows you how to get a hook in the consumer’s consciousness.

And that’s very different to what everyone thinks our job is.

Most people think our job is to make the consumer like the brand.

Which is why 90% of advertising (£17 billion in the UK alone) doesn’t work.

What’s actually much more important is what makes the brand different.

If you aren’t different, you have no identity.

You’re just a commodity.

Just a manufacturer in fact, you have no brand.

So to have a brand you need an identity.

To have an identity you need a point of difference.

And if you don’t have one, you need to create one.

For example, supposing I asked the question, who was the first American President?

Most people would be able to answer, George Washington.

But if I asked, who was the forty-fourth American President, a lot less people would be able to answer.

You can’t remember all the American Presidents, and what order they came in.

Why would you?

You can certainly remember the names of a few American Presidents: Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Nixon, Bush.

But who cares what number they were?

So, no, most people don’t know, and can’t be bothered, who was the forty-fourth American President.

Now suppose I asked, who was the first black American President?

Everyone would answer, Barack Obama.

You know that immediately because he has a definite point of difference.

So he stands out.

Actually, Barack Obama is also the forty-fourth President.

But no one remembers that.

Because that positioning has no point of difference.

As a number, he’s just one of forty four.

But as a black President, he is one of one.

And that’s a powerful position.

That’s a brand.