Wayne Gretzky on Positioning

Wayne_gretzky_small_framethumbHe is known as the "Great One". He is the NHL’s all time leading scorer and nine time league MVP. He led the Oilers to four Stanley Cups in five years. And, he knows a great deal about positioning.

Mr. Gretzky has explained his success on the ice in a very succinct fashion.

He said, "“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.”

One of the fundamentals of positioning is to think in the future tense.

In most cases, management teams that are reconsidering their positioning are thinking two to three years forward. They are thinking about future market conditions. They are considering their technology plans, their product improvement paths, their new product development efforts, their future distribution efforts and considering what the competitors are likely to attempt.

To use the Gretzky analogy, the future market conditions become the puck.

Skating is the process of aligning the organization to compete in this future state. It involves defining everything in light of a new positioning approach.

We recently worked with an industrial products management team that adopted a positioning that included the idea of becoming known as the "low-risk choice". It was exciting to work through a process of redefining a host of policy issues (pricing, warranty, delivery, staffing, innovation) based on "the low-risk decision".

As you think about how to implement your brand’s positioning, keep Wayne Gretzky’s wisdom in mind.

If you keep your eye on future market opportunities (the puck) and skate with discipline and  determination, your brand just might win the Stanley Cup of your industry.

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