The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
||List Price: $18.95
Amazon.com Price: $13.27
- Media: Paperback
Publisher: HarperCollins (17 September, 2002)
- Average Customer Review:
Based on 37 reviews.
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 2,217
An excellent read on a key issue in business today
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding was primarily written by Laura Ries - Al Ries was a co-author on the book - in case anyone didn't know. Such information is available at their website. I rank this book a solid 5 star book because the insights / examples provided far outweigh any concerns / problems I found with the book. This book caused me to look at advertising / marketing from a different perspective in my daily life which is what I use to evaluate if something is a 5 star book
I loved The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding for the following reasons:
1. It flat out states the importance of marketing & branding, which is important to separate in the readers' mind before beginning. As they state "Marketing is building a brand in the mind of the prospect. If you can build a powerful brand you will have a powerful marketing program. If you can't, then all the advertising, fancy packaging, sales promotion and public relations in the world won't help you achieve your objective."
2. The Ries' call it like they see it. Excellent examples of marketing / advertising stupidity / effectiveness are provided.
3. They talk about the plethora of products that are produced each year.
4. They discuss how businesses must get inside a consumer's mind (AKA positioning) to win the war. Volvo = safety, BMW = Ultimate Driving Machine, Mercedes = prestige, Toyota = Reliability, Ford = ?, Chevy = ?. The Ries' clearly spell out an excellent reason as to why the U.S. automanufacturers are getting killed.
5. The book illustrates, as did the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, how companies dilute their brands through line extensions (I personally believe this due to my personal experience / buying patterns and observations of others.)
6. They point out the increasing importance of PR (public relations) compared to advertising. This is the subject of a new book by the father / daughter. Basically PR launches a product and advertising gives it life support is their main assertion.
I disliked The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding for the following reasons:
1. Overlap from prior books is definitely occurring. I have noticed this with Jack Trout's recent books too. I would estimate that 15% - 20%, at a minimum, of Trout's recent books and this book have been stated in one form or another in their prior works.
2. Some of the examples provide clearly refute other examples provided. On page 100 they state "the Mustang and former CEO of Chrysler Corporation (two powerful brand names.) In prior examples the authors clearly state that the brand is the maker of the company. Volvo = safety, BMW = driving machine, etc (you will find such features in all their vehicles -maybe not in Volvos convertible.) What does Chrysler stand for again? Minivans? I haven't exactly noticed it in their advertising......for a long time...
Conclusion: Buy the book. It is well worth the time and money. Most of my reviews are in business / economics and I encourage people to read them, whether here on Amazon or at my personal website. If you are interested in another good marketing book I highly recommend Differentiate or Die by Jack Trout or Seth Godin's book on permission marketing / launching an ideavirus. If you are interested in other subjects I would encourage you to read The Worldly Philosophers by Robert Heilbroner if you are interested in economic history - the book is international in scope and deals with the lives and times of the most famous economists in history. If you are interested in economic development / evolution of U.S. property history I would encourage you to read Hernando DeSoto's Mystery of Capital but note his lack of focus on corruption in certain countries. A great general business book is by the management guru Peter Drucker entitled "The Essential Drucker."
To focus and place a word in the prospect mind!
I have read a few books written by Ries and there are two ideas that are emphasized again and again, that is, to focus and to place a word in the prospect mind. This book is no exception. The laws of branding built in this book are based on these two concepts.
"Marketing is building a brand in the mind of the prospect". I totally agree. People are exposed to an over-communicated environment, to place a word in the prospect mind can surely lead your company to success. In fact, in customers' mind, there is no difference between your products and your competitors'. Only by building a brand can you differentiate your company from its competitors.
I also agree that brand building is not just for marketing department but for the entire company, as a brand is not only composed of its name but also of its product, service, environment, communication and behavior of the company. Everything a company does is related to brand building. Therefore, apart from the name that includes the logotypes and the color, this book also provides us with a lot of ways to do with the brand. For examples, to focus in its scope, to achieve it with publicity and maintain it with advertising, to promote the category rather than the brand, to distinguish it from the company, to avoid using subbranding etc.
This book is clear in the format and the content, illustrated by plenty of examples of what not to do and lessons on how to brand in the customer's mind! I can get a lot of insights from it.
This book is worth reading! I highly recommend you to read it!
Then 1 Immutable Law of Al Ries
Focus. Don't do a line extension to save your life.
OK, this book is great and should be read by anyone involved in marketing (I mean come on, who doesn't have the 3 hours it takes to read this book). Unfortunately one serious drawback is that he uses plenty of examples to support his claims. Huh? Why is that a negative? Here's why: because it gets the reader to think of plenty of counter-examples that contradict his points. As another reviewer suggested the claim of "immutable" laws of marketing is a bit bold, but what the book does provide is food for thought in a highly readable context.
You gotta give the guy credit though. He takes a stand. And there's a lot to be said for taking a viewpoint and standing by it in today's middle of the road world.
If you don't feel up to reading "Focus," "Positioning," or some of the other texts by Al Ries, this one provides a lot of the insights in bite size pieces.
Despite the knocks against it listed above there are a few points worth acknowledging: 1. Al Ries is a legend in marketing. 2. It's a good, fun read with many useful examples worth keeping in mind when developing marketing strategies. 3. By reading it for yourself you can develop examples to refute a lot fo the laws and move along the path towards critically evaluating branding strategies.
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