The Future of Your Company Depends On It

Al Ries

Publisher: HarperCollins, 1996, 304 pages

ISBN: 0-88730-764-7

Keywords: Marketing, Strategy

Last modified: Aug. 31, 2009, 9:33 p.m.

What do IBM and PepsiCo have in common?

Even though IBM had $65 billion in revenues, the company was still losing money. Even though PepsiCo has almost twice the sales and twice the assets of Coca-Cola, its stock is worth less than half as much as Coke's.

What they are missing is focus.

In this new book by the bestselling author of The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Al Ries shows why companies should focus on core products and get rid of extraneous, energy-wasting ventures. In industry after industry, it's the narrowly focused companies that are the big winners. With increased competition and the globalization of business, the future belongs to the company that can narrow its focus in order to dominate its industry.

Using examples of companies from a variety of traditional and new industries — from airlines to video store to fast food to software — Ries offers concrete, no-nonsense advice on how to own a category in the customer's mind, the way Volvo owns "safety,", BMW owns "driving," and FedEx owns "overnight."

Focus, Al Ries explains, is the key factor in corporate competitivness that can make your company number one in the marketplace. Too many companies are hooked on growth, resulting in pointless mergers and acquisitions in the name of "synergy" or misguided line extensions that dilute brand strength. Their managers need to focus, or these companies will suffer.

In today's cutthroat environment, if you work in a corporation, you work in the marketing department. You can't afford not to: the very existance of your company rests on how good a job you're doing to associate your brand and your company with what customers think they want. Unfortunately, too many companies have taken great brands — such as Adidas running shoes, Coors beer, and Bic lighters — and wasted them on products like Adidias cologne, Coors water, and Bic pantyhouse — clasic cases of valuable names linked to unrelated products, which meant nothing in the customer's mind. Al Ries demonstrates how a corporation can increase its competitiveness by narrowing its focus, spinning off divisions that dilute its strength, and establishing a single work or concept the company can own in the mind.

Today's rapidly changing technology-driven marketplace mandates constant quick thinking and reassessment by managers throughout the corporation. Focus is the book that lays out the smart way for your company to evolve, increase market share, and sacrificing the key assets you'll need in the long term. This is the answer to getting your company back on track.

Focus. The future of your company depends on it.

  1. The Unfocusing of Corporate America
  2. The Driving Force of Globalization
  3. The Driving Force of Division
  4. Encouraging Signs from the Corporate Front
  5. Encouraging Signs from the Retail Front
  6. A Tale of Two Colas
  7. The Quality Axiom
  8. Finding Your Word
  9. Narrowing Your Scope
  10. Coping with Change
  11. Divide and Conquer
  12. Building a Multistep Focus
  13. Disciplining a Dinosaur
  14. Crossing the Trench
  15. Fifteen Keys to a Long-Term Focus



Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Decent ****** (6 out of 10)

Last modified: Aug. 31, 2009, 1:31 p.m.

Interesting to read about new trends (joke). Normally refered to as core business/values. But it is a classical text.


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