Al Ries attended high school in Harvey, Illinois, he then joined the Merchant Marines and later the US Army where he served in Korea. Upon his return, Al attended and graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana with a degree in liberal arts in 1950. After school, he accepted a job in the advertising and sales promotion department of General Electric in Schnectady, New York.
In 1955, Al joined Needham, Louis & Brorby in New York City as an account executive (and later vice president) on the Worthington and Peugeot accounts (The agency is now DDB Worldwide) In 1961, he joined Marsteller, Inc as an account supervisor. In 1963, he founded his first advertising agency Ries Cappiello Colwell in New York City.
In 1972, Al Ries (with Jack Trout) wrote a three-part series of articles on "positioning" for Advertising Age magazine. In 1979, the agency's name was changed to Trout & Ries Advertising with Al as Chairman.
Eight years after the original positioning articles were published, Al Ries (with Jack Trout) wrote his first book entitled Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind published by McGraw-Hill in 1980. Positioning has become an industry classic, with estimated sales of over one million books. It is one of the best selling advertising books of all time.
In 1985 Al Ries (with Jack Trout) wrote a second bestselling book entitled Marketing Warfare. Crossing marketing thinking with some principles of the famous Prussian military strategist, Carl von Clauswitz, this book also received wide acclaim. The two books are available in a total of 17 different languages.
In 1988, Al Ries (with Jack Trout) wrote Bottom-Up Marketing a book that attacks some of management's most cherished concepts, including goals, mission statements and strategic planning. His revolutionary concept: "Strategy should be developed from the bottom up, not the top down."
In 1990, Al Ries (with Jack Trout) wrote Horse Sense, a book that applies marketing principles to the marketing of people. It attacks much of the conventional wisdom of how to become successful. "Find a horse to ride," is the authors' advice. A horse can be a product, an idea, a company or even another person.
In 1993, Al Ries (with Jack Trout) wrote The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, a book that outlines the basic reasons why marketing programs succeed or fail. "Violate them at you own risk," it cautions. The book has been on bestseller lists around the world, including Mexico, Argentina and Germany. In 1993, the book was the best-selling business book in India.
After several years together, Al and Jack called it quits in 1994. The split was amicable and the two remain friends. Al wanted to bring in his daughter, Laura, who had recently graduated from Northwestern University and was working as an account manager at TBWA Advertising. In 1994, Al Ries founded Ries & Ries with Laura Ries and opened an office in Great Neck, New York.
In 1996, Al wrote Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It, which was published by HarperCollins. Focus shows why companies need to narrow the focus in order to own a category in the consumer's mind. Red Herring magazine called Focus the "management canon."
In the fall of 1997, Al and Laura relocated their homes and business to Atlanta, Georgia. After spending over forty years in New York, Al decided to escape the Big Apple and chose the Big Peach instead, where the weather is warm, the people friendly and the airport convenient.
In 1998, Al Ries and Laura Ries co-authored The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, published by HarperCollins. This book laid downs the laws for building any product or service into a world-class brand. It hit number nine on the BusinessWeek bestseller list in January 1999.
In 1999, Al was named one of the 100 most influential public relations people of the 20th century by PR Week magazine. He also was profiled in the June 28th issue of BusinessWeek magazine.
In the year 2000, Al Ries and Laura Ries co-authored The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding, published by HarperCollins. A book that uses Ries' marketing savvy and expertise in branding and brings it to the Internet. Al and Laura have defined the laws for the biggest challenge of the new millennium: what to do about the Internet and how to build an Internet brand.
Delivering exciting and dynamic speeches is Mr. Ries' specialty. Speeches based on the Laws of Branding or other customized topics, all of our presentations are custom tailored to your specific audience. Using examples from a wide variety of industries Mr. Ries discusses and illustrates each law. He makes extensive use of slides (about 100 per hour) which makes his speeches fast paced and interesting. All presentations are built on Microsoft PowerPoint.
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