The Meaning of Zag

Discover the power of zagging in marketing and how it can help your brand stand out in a crowded marketplace. Explore examples, case studies, and the impact of zagging on business success.


When it comes to standing out in a crowded marketplace, many businesses are turning to the concept of ‘zagging’. But what exactly does it mean to ‘zag’ and how can it help your brand? In this article, we will explore the meaning of zagging, provide examples of successful zags, discuss case studies, and look at the impact of zagging on business success.

What is Zagging?

Zagging is a marketing strategy coined by the legendary marketing duo Al Ries and Jack Trout in their book ‘The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing’. The idea is simple – while most companies in a particular industry focus on a similar strategy or positioning, a company can stand out by taking a different approach. In other words, instead of following the crowd, zagging involves going in a different direction.

Examples of Zagging

  • Apple: When Apple launched the iPod, they didn’t just create another MP3 player. They created a digital music player that seamlessly integrated with iTunes and had a sleek design. This was a zag from the bulky, complicated MP3 players on the market at the time.
  • Red Bull: Red Bull didn’t just enter the crowded energy drink market with another caffeine-filled beverage. They positioned themselves as a lifestyle brand that sponsored extreme sports events and created a unique brand experience.
  • Tesla: Tesla zagged in the automotive industry by focusing on electric vehicles when most other car manufacturers were still producing gasoline-powered cars. This unique positioning has helped Tesla become a leader in the electric vehicle market.

Case Studies

One of the most famous examples of zagging is the Avis ‘We Try Harder’ campaign. In the 1960s, Avis was the number two car rental company behind Hertz. Instead of trying to compete head-on with Hertz, Avis embraced their underdog status and created a campaign highlighting their commitment to customer service. This zag helped Avis increase their market share and become a strong competitor to Hertz.

Impact of Zagging

Zagging can have a significant impact on a company’s success. By taking a different approach than the competition, a company can stand out in the minds of consumers and create a unique brand identity. This can lead to increased brand awareness, customer loyalty, and ultimately, increased sales and revenue.

According to a study by Deloitte, companies that zag are more likely to experience above-average revenue growth compared to companies that stick to the status quo. This makes zagging a powerful strategy for businesses looking to differentiate themselves in a competitive marketplace.


In conclusion, the concept of zagging offers a unique opportunity for companies to differentiate themselves from the competition and stand out in a crowded marketplace. By taking a different approach and going against the grain, businesses can create a strong brand identity and increase their chances of success. So next time you’re looking to make your mark in your industry, consider zagging instead of zigging.

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