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Rivkin, Steve 1947-

RIVKIN, Steve 1947-

PERSONAL: Born, 1947; married; wife's name, April. Education: University of Missouri, graduated.

ADDRESSES: Home—NJ. Office—Rivkin & Associates, Inc., P.O. Box 188, Glen Rock, NJ 07452-0188. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer, consultant, journalist, educator, lecturer, marketing executive, and corporate communications specialist. Rivkin & Associates (marketing strategy firm), founder. Estes Park Institute (healthcare educational organization), member of faculty. Former editor of Iron Age magazine; founder and editor of Financial Marketing Abstracts.

WRITINGS:

(With Jack Trout) The New Positioning: The Latest on the World's Number-One Business Strategy, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1996.

(With Hugh Greeley) To the Point: Effective Communications for the Medical Staff, Opus Communications (Marblehead, MA), 1996.

(With Jack Trout) The Power of Simplicity: A Management Guide to Cutting through the Nonsense and Doing Things Right, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1999.

(With Jack Trout) Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition, Wiley (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Fraser Seitel) IdeaWise: How to Transform Your Ideas into Tomorrow's Innovations, Wiley (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Fraser Sutherland) The Making of a Name: The Inside Story of the Brands We Buy, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of Business Strategy.

SIDELIGHTS: Writer, business consultant, and corporate communications specialist Steve Rivkin is a marketing and branding expert who has written books on positioning, product and service differentiation, and the effective creation of brand names. A frequent speaker at conferences, retreats, and seminars, Rivkin has also consulted for a variety of clients, including Alliant Energy, Kraft Foods, Monsanto, PG&E Corporation, Georgia-Pacific, IdeaVillage, and Tiffany & Company. His company, Rivkin & Associates, specializes in writing, speaking, and consulting on marketing and communications subjects.

In The New Positioning: The Latest on the World's Number-One Business Strategy, written with noted business consultant Jack Trout, Rivkin updates the concept of marketplace positioning for businesses in the early twenty-first century. Introduced in 1981, positioning is a strategic marketing method for creating the perception of a product, company, service, or brand. Effective positioning allows businesses and marketers to shift the way their product or service is perceived by the buying public, allowing rapid adaptation to changing market conditions. A major problem facing current marketers is that people in the 2000s are overwhelmed with information; they are bombarded with so much data that their minds simply cannot absorb and process it all. Rivkin and Trout explore the problem in depth, and offer useful suggestions for how to overcome information overload in the mind of the prospect. They offer a number of case studies of successes and failures based on positioning, or lack of it. The authors also provide eight chapters that focus on "specific tactics that you can use to make positioning work for your company," noted Andy Aylesworth in Journal of Consumer Marketing. Robert Mendenhall, writing in Business Marketing, called the book "well worth the time you'll spend on it."

The Power of Simplicity: A Management Guide to Cutting through the Nonsense and Doing Things Right, also written with Trout, contains the authors' advice to keep all aspects of a business as simple as possible. Again, an overabundance of available information hinders earnest businesspeople when they seek to streamline their lives and operations. Overanalysis of simple problems and the use of elevated language and business buzzwords can inject complexity where none is needed. Trout and Rivkin cover topics such as management and leadership, the overemphasis on minor issues such as mission statements, the need for motivation and self-improvement, dealing with critics, bad advice from consultants, and the reasons why people fear simplicity. "This book is for those who have grown cynical and weary of all the advice from management gurus," commented Stacy VanDerWall in HR magazine. Despite any reservations, "simplifying a business—any business—can save a businessperson big dollars and maximize profits," noted Booklist reviewer Joe Collins.

In The Making of a Name: The Inside Story of the Brands We Buy Rivkin and coauthor Fraser Sutherland offer a thorough discussion of the art of creating brand names and brand identity. The authors describe the descriptive, allusive, and coined names and how each type is applied to particular sorts of products. A section on the naming process delves deeply into matters such as left-brain/right-brain function, the origins of human speech, brainstorming methods for creating brand names, the perils of translation and use of brand names that have an unintended meaning in slang or another language, and linguistic issues related to branding. Rivkin and Sutherland also provide an overview of naming firms and alternatives that companies can pursue if they are disinclined to hire an outside consultant in the naming process. Library Journal contributor Susan C. Awe called The Making of a Name an "authoritative and fascinating book on names and naming."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 1, 1998, Joe Collins, review of The Power of Simplicity: A Management Guide to Cutting through the Nonsense and Doing Things Right, p. 473.

Business Marketing, February, 1996, Robert Mendenhall, review of The New Positioning: The Latest on the World's Number-One Business Strategy, p. 26.

HRMagazine, February, 1999, Stacy VanDerWall, review of The Power of Simplicity, p. 143.

Journal of Consumer Marketing, summer, 1996, Andy Aylesworth, review of The New Positioning, p. 56.

Library Journal, January 1, 2005, Susan C. Awe, review of The Making of a Name: The Inside Story of the Brands We Buy, p. 126.

Publishers Weekly, January 3, 2005, review of The Making of a Name, p. 50.

United States Banker, June, 1990, Fraser P. Seitel, "The Name Game" (interview), p. 46.

Vive la Difference, April, 2000, review of Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition, p. 153.

Wilson Quarterly, winter, 2005, "Rename Brands," review of The Making of a Name, p. 12.

ONLINE

Rivkin & Associates Web site, http://www.rivkin.net/ (May 23, 2005), "Steve Rivkin."

Web Marketing Today Online, http://www.wilsonweb.com/ (June 1, 2000), Ralph F. Wilson, review of Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition.

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