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Ries, Al 1926-

Ries, Al 1926-

PERSONAL:

Born November 14, 1926, in Indianapolis, IN; son of Theodore F. and Elsie Ries; married Lois Parker, 1950 (divorced, 1962); married Mary Lou Morrissey, May 6, 1968; children: (first marriage) Charles Parker, Dorothy Jeane, Barbara Ann; (second marriage) Laura Marie. Education: DePauw University, A.B., 1950.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Atalanta, GA. Office—Ries & Ries, 2195 River Cliff Dr., Roswell, GA 30076. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Needham, Louis & Brorby, New York, NY, vice-president and account supervisor, 1956-62; Marsteller, Inc., New York, NY, account supervisor, 1962-63; Trout & Ries (advertising company), Greenwich, CT, chairperson, 1963-93; Ries & Ries, Roswell, GA, chairman, 1994—.

MEMBER:

Advertising Club of New York (past president), Business Marketing Association (past president).

WRITINGS:

(With Jack Trout) Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1981, 20th anniversary edition, 2001.

(With Jack Trout) Marketing Warfare, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1983, 20th anniversary edition, 2003.

(With Jack Trout) Bottom-Up Marketing, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1986.

(With Jack Trout) Horse Sense: The Key to Success Is Finding a Horse to Ride, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1991, published as Horse Sense: How to Pull ahead on the Business Track, Plume (New York, NY), 1992.

(With Jack Trout) The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk, Harper Business (New York, NY), 1992.

Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It, HarperBusiness (New York, NY), 1996.

(With Laura Ries) The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding: How to Build a Product or Service into a World Class Brand, HarperBusiness (New York, NY), 1998, expanded edition, 2002.

(With Laura Ries) The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding, HarperBusiness (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Laura Ries) The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, HarperBusiness (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Laura Ries) The Origin of Brands: Discover the Natural Laws of Product Innovation and Business Survival, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.

Also author of introduction and commentary, Theodore B. Kinni, Future Focus: How 21 Companies Are Capturing 21st Century Success, Capstone Publishing (Milford, CT), 2000.

SIDELIGHTS:

Al Ries is considered one of the most influential marketing consultants in the United States. Ries's first book, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, was one of the most influential books about advertising published in the 1980s. Its title became a buzzword of the era, referring to the placement of a product in the marketplace and in consumers' minds. Ries and his coauthor Jack Trout went on to collaborate on several more books, including Marketing Warfare, Bottom-Up Marketing, and The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk. Ries has also written many books with his daughter, Laura Ries. These include The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding: How to Build a Product or Service into a World Class Brand, The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, and The Origin of Brands: Discover the Natural Laws of Product Innovation and Business Survival.

Positioning has remained in print since its initial publication in 1981. Reviewing the twentieth anniversary edition of the book, which contained some updated material and comments by the authors about their original text, Robert Duboff stated in the Journal of Advertising Research that since reading Positioning when it was first published, he had "referred back to it often … and it has always struck me to be as true as you can get in marketing…. I was struck by the insight and value flowing from that original text."

Ries and Trout explored problems with corporate vision in another of their books, Bottom-Up Marketing. Using Christopher Columbus as an example, they point out that he failed to perceive his real discovery—North America—because he was too caught up in his expectations of reaching the Far East. "This thought-provoking book is littered with examples of where companies—some of them multinational corporations—have come unstuck by setting unrealistic goals," noted Peter Peskett in a review for Direct Marketing International. In advertising, the authors wrote, strategies should be developed from the bottom up, rather than imposed from the top down. Rather than changing the mind of the consumer through the use of advertising, companies should change their product to offer something unique and memorable. When this approach was first proposed, Peskett noted, "it was seen as almost revolutionary because the accepted wisdom in most organisations is that the grand strategy should be set first, and then the tactics can follow. But the more [you] delve into the thinking behind their conclusion, the more you accept the wisdom of their theory."

Ries and Trout produced another seminal work of marketing literature with The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. In this "sparkling and informative book," as it was described by Duncan Maxwell Anderson in Success, the authors present such truths as the Law of the Ladder, which holds that consumers tend to rank companies hierarchically, and the Law of Category, which states that if you cannot be the best in one category, you should create another category in which you can be first. Ries and his daughter Laura continued the series with titles such as The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding and The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding.

The father-daughter writing team created another bestselling book with The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR. In this volume, they explore the shift from true advertising as a means of selling products to the contemporary situation, in which public relations, rather than paid advertising, may really be more significant to a product's success or failure. The authors attribute this shift to the ever-increasing spread of advertising, which has become so ubiquitous that consumers now routinely tune out the advertisements they encounter. They are both overwhelmed and skeptical of advertising claims. Publicity generated by other means is more effective in creating consumer awareness of a product, according to the Rieses. Gregg Cebzynski, a reviewer for the Nation's Restaurant News, commented: "The book is not kind to agencies and the advertising they turn out. The Rieses do not contend that advertising is obsolete, but they argue that advertising has been used the wrong way for many years."

In The Origin of Brands, the Rieses suggest using the Darwinian theory of evolution as a way of thinking about marketing. As an example, they cite the medium of television as a "tree" that initially had just three trunks: the broadcast television networks, CBS, NBC, and ABC. In recent decades, however, the television realm has evolved and now includes a vast array of cable and satellite programming. As industries evolve, change, and grow, businesses must keep up and adapt to that process of change or they will fail. A Publishers Weekly writer credited the authors with offering an "entertaining perspective on advertising and marketing," as well as useful, specific advice on such matters as creating unique categories in which to position their products.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

AdMedia, March, 2003, Vaughn Davis, review of The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, p. 12.

Booklist, April 1, 1996, David Rouse, review of Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It, p. 1333; May 15, 2000, David Rouse, review of The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding, p. 1711; September 1, 2002, Mary Whaley, review of The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, p. 31.

Boardwatch, November, 2000, review of The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding, p. 106.

Business Record, August 19, 2002, review of The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, p. 44.

Business Week, November 11, 2002, Gerry Khermouch, review of The Fall of Advertising an the Rise of PR, p. 24.

Campaign, February 7, 2003, review of The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, p. 14.

Communication World, October-November, 2002, review of The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, p. 30.

Direct Marketing International, March, 1992, Peter Peskett, review of Bottom-Up Marketing, p. 45.

Entrepreneur, October, 1996, Debra Phillips, review of Focus, p. 222.

Fortune, September 4, 2000, Anne Fisher, review of The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding, p. 388.

Houston Business Journal, January 14, 2000, Rob Gray, review of The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, p. 68.

Inc., February, 1989, Paul B. Brown, review of Bottom-Up Marketing, p. 29; June, 2000, review of The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding, p. 145.

Journal of Advertising Research, November, 2001, Robert Duboff, review of Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, p. 69.

Journal of Consumer Marketing, fall-winter, 1997, Andrew B. Aylesworth, review of Focus, p. 406.

Latin Trade, April, 2003, Andres Hernandez Alinde, review of The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, p. 70.

Library Journal, August, 2002, Stacey Marien, review of The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, p. 112.

Marketing, January 13, 2000, Rob Gray, review of The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, p. 68.

Marketing & Media Decisions, January, 1989, Dick Stevenson, review of Bottom-Up Marketing, p. 92.

Nation's Restaurant News, December 5, 1988, Charles Bernstein, review of Bottom-up Marketing, p. F3; January 16, 1989, Michael Schrader, review of Bottom-up Marketing, p. 59; July 29, 2002, Gregg Cebrzynski, review of The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, p. 14.

NZ Business, March, 2003, review of The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, p. 9.

PR Week, May 10, 2004, review of The Origin of Brands: Discover the Natural Laws of Product Innocation and Business Survival, p. 24.

Publishers Weekly, February 19, 1996, review of Focus, p. 197; May 15, 2000, review of 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, p. 106; July 22, 2002, review of The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, p. 166; May 3, 2004, review of The Origin of Brands, p. 186.

Sales & Marketing Management, August, 1991, Kerry Rottenberger, review of Horse Sense: The Key to Success Is Finding a Horse to Ride, p. 73.

Success, July-August, 1993, Duncan Maxwell Anderson, review of The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, p. 50.

Training, August, 2000, Theodore Kinni, review of The 11 Immutable Laws of the Internet, p. 78.

Variety, August 19, 2002, review of The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, p. 46.

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