Al & Laura Ries on “Marketing in the 21st Century: Brand Building and Positioning Strategies”

Indicative Sample of Basil Tsaras’ and his Companies’ Events
(Conferences and Summits)

Great Speakers Series 2006 Events

Event No 4

Al & Laura Ries


“Marketing in the 21st Century: Brand Building and Positioning Strategies”

Arts Centre at ACS

Athens, May 3, 2006

Great Speakers Series 2005 Events

Event No 1

Professor John Kotter
“Leading Change: What Leaders Really Do”

Athens Concert Hall, Room of the Friends of Music Society

Athens, October 19, 2005

There’s a myth that marketing is nothing but common sense. Nothing could be further from the truth. This all-day seminar explored all the most important issues in marketing today: brand names, positions, line extensions, second brands, trademarks, globalization, advertising, public relations and many other subjects.

According to Al Ries, common sense can easily lead companies astray. Al and Laura Ries provoked the Greek audience to take the concept of customer focus. Since virtually all companies are “customer focused,” Al and Laura Ries showed how this concept can lead a company in exactly the wrong direction. According to them, to be successful today, a company needs to be “competitor focused.”

Al and Laura also argued the concept of “building better products and services.” According to them, this is logical and also wrong. Al and Laura Ries provided a better approach that was to “think different.” In other words, they advised the audience to build a brand, not by being better, but by being different. They also made use of many such examples, such as: Rolex in “expensive” watches, Red Bull in “energy” drinks, Zara in “fast” fashion, Ikea in “unassembled” furniture. Their basic advice to the Greek Managers who attended the Seminar was “To be a leader, it’s better to be first, than it is to be better.”

Al argued that in marketing, common sense is almost always wrong. He argued that since all companies in a given category share the same “facts,” they all tend to approach the market with exactly the same strategies. As a result, no single company is able to gain much of a competitive advantage.

Using a large number of case histories, Al and Laura Ries showed to the Greek audience how counter-intuitive thinking will enable their brand to stand out from all the others.

Al and Laura Ries covered hundreds of marketing case histories, using more than a thousand slides in that all-day seminar. Some of the marketing battles covered included: Dell vs. IBM. Dell vs. Gateway. Intel vs. Advanced Micro Devices. Microsoft vs. Linux. Microsoft vs. Apple. Hertz vs. Enterprise. Nokia vs. Motorola. Barbie dolls vs. Bratz. Budweiser vs. Miller. McDonald’s vs. Burger King. McDonald’s vs. In-N-Out Burgers. Wal-Mart vs. Target. Home Depot vs. Lowe’s. Mercedes-Benz vs. BMW. Duracell vs. Energizer. Pizza Hut vs. Domino’s Pizza. Federal Express vs. Emery Air Freight. Listerine vs. Scope. Visa vs. MasterCard. Nike vs. Adidas. Viagra vs. Cialis.

Al Ries is chairman of Ries & Ries, a marketing strategy firm in Atlanta, Georgia USA that he runs with his daughter, Laura Ries. He is the author, or co-author, of 11 books on marketing including Positioning, Marketing Warfare, Bottom-up Marketing, and Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It and The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding.

Al and Laura Ries have written four books together: The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding, The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR and their latest, The Origin of Brands.

Laura Ries was named by Business 2.0 magazine in 2002 as a “management guru.” The publication issued trading cards with her picture and statistics on them. She has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNBC and is a regular branding expert on CNN. She is a frequently quoted marketing expert in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and other publications.

Al Ries is one of the few marketing experts with credentials in both advertising and public relations. In 1999, PR Week magazine, the leading U.S. public relations publication, selected Al Ries as one of the “100 most influential PR people of the 20th century.” In 2005, Advertising Age magazine, the leading U.S. advertising publication, selected his positioning concept as one of the “75 most important ideas of the past 75 years.”

Al Ries writes a monthly column for His son, Charles Ries, is the U.S. Ambassador to Greece.

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