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Positioning: The Battle for Your Government

| March 26, 2018

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — In their groundbreaking 1970s best seller “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind” (still in print), real-life “Mad Men” characters Jack Trout and Al Reis outlined a product differentiation strategy for the ages.  This concept has helped me make a lot of money, so if you haven’t read the book ya gotta.

Classic “positioning” examples they cited include:

  • Avis, which touted that they were the number TWO rental car company, saying “We try harder.”
  • And 7-Up was “The Uncola.”
  • The only radio station mentioned in the book was WKLW/Providence, a competitor when I was a jock on WPRO. At the time, four other stations were playing the same hits.  Beautiful Music WLKW positioned as “Unrock.”

2018 politics: Product vs. product.

With Democrat (!) Conor Lamb now representing that 18th Pennsylvania House district Donald Trump won by 20 points – and where the president stumped twice for the Republican candidate — the next November preview is Arizona’s 8th, the congressional district in the northwest corner of the Phoenix area.

  • This election is to fill the seat Congressman Trent Franks, who resigned after — his words – “my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates.”
  • The Democrat’s unapologetically Progressive approach is very different than the very-Republican-sounding winner in Pennsylvania. Doctor Hiral Tiperneni is an Emergency Room physician whose parents moved here from India when she was three, and she cheers the USA as land-of-opportunity.
  • Her opponent Debbie Lesko’s mantra is build The Wall.

Instructive to our work.

Search both candidates’ commercials on YouTube.  The products happen to be politicians, but this is advertising; just like the spots you write for local retailers and the promos for your station.

  • Tiperneni – an OUTSIDER, like Donald Trump – is positioning her opponent as the kind of INSIDER Trump trashes: “Politician Debbie Lesko is everything you hate about politics…She won’t clean-up Washington. She’s just more of the same.”
  • The doctor’s opponent isn’t Debbie Lesko. It’s POLITICIAN Debbie Lesko…a tag, like Crooked Hillary, Lyin’ Ted Cruz, Little Marco, Low-energy Jeb.  Watch this race, April 24.


Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a consultant working at the intersection of Talk Radio and the Internet; and he hosts “The Big Picture” on RT America.  Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke.

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Category: Advice, Opinions