Skip to main content

Is it time to reposition positioning?


It is over 30 years since Al Ries and Jack Trout introduced the concept of ‘positioning’ in a series of articles in AdAge magazine and since then the brand positioning model, in all its many shapes and sizes, has become a core tool for marketers. However, the whole marketing brandscape has changed radically since the 1970s and the authors argue that most of the existing models are no longer fit for purpose. The authors argue that the current models are more suitable for single-minded proposition development and are too ‘narrow-minded’ for today's brands where it is important to recognise: (i) the need for multiplicity – multiple products and services from one brand, multiple target audiences, multiple need states and different insights communicated and connected across multiple channels and touch-points; (ii) that, while important, the consumer is not king and a failure to recognise this can lead to brand-ness, not brand-ness; and (iii) that marketing propositions are different from long-term branding. The authors put forward a new brand framework that separates the long-term brand philosophy from specific propositions and allows for multiple propositions to co-exist.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Giles Lury.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Jowitt, H., Lury, G. Is it time to reposition positioning?. J Brand Manag 20, 96–103 (2012).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • multiplicity
  • the new brandscape
  • dethroning the consumer
  • beliefs not values
  • positioning