How do you position a fridge? Common misuses of words in PR


Smeg
Over there. In the corner. Next to the deep freeze.

Though not according to Firefly.They’ve just won a global brief to launch Korean electronics conglomerate LG’s new range of ‘chic’ touch-sensitive refrigerators.

According to PR Week: "Firefly’s brief includes ­positioning these fridges as interior design
elements rather than simple kitchen appliances. The range includes
silver titanium and stainless steel designs as well as a Swarovski
crystal-embellished fridge available only by special order. The rest of
the line will be available in the UK exclusively at Harrods from the
end of the month, with each fridge costing up to £1,199."

Firefly’s task is thus to persuade (at least a section) of the global fridge buying public to part with an extra £1000 to buy "an interior design element" rather than a "a simple kitchen appliance." Quite a tall order – but good luck to Firefly – it looks like they are being paid handsomely to try and achieve this.

However, the thing that irritated me about this story was PR Week’s use of the word "positioning".

I’ve always been irked by the rather lax way this word gets used in PR. Anybody who as ever read  Geoffery Moore’s books (Crossing the Chasm, etc) will know that companies or their PR companies can never position a product – the market positions you. You can attempt to influence the market perception of where your position in the market it is – but ultimately, the market (or your customers or propects) decide what that position will be.

In which case, it would be nice to see places like PR Week stop referring to PR briefs being to "position" companies. No PR company has that power.

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