The following is a brief summary of “The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding” by Al and Laura Ries, an excellent book that everyone should spend some time with.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
1. The law of expansion — As you spread the brand out over more areas, it loses its potency.
2. The law of contraction — As you focus the brand more sharply on a single aspect, virtue or quality, it grows in strength.
3. The law of publicity — Brands are built (born) on publicity.
4. The law of advertising — Advertising is used to maintain the brand’s strength, protect market share and make competitive entry difficult.
5. The law of the word — Own a single word in the mind of consumers. Fed Ex is “overnight delivery.”
6. The law of credentials — You can’t be what you are not. Be credible. Your slogan should be the one thing you are that defines your position in the market place. Coke is the real thing.
7. The law of quality — Perception is more important than reality.
8. The law of category — The leading brand should promote the category. Create a new bay and make the water rise. Encourage competitors to enter and promote the new niche, with your boat in the premium position, yours will rise faster and further than others.
9. The law of the name — Think long term and choose a name that will be distinct decades from now. Xerox.
10. The law of extensions — The easiest way to destroy a brand is to put its name on everything.
11. The law of fellowship — To build the category, welcome other brands. Use their resources to grow the market you are first and number one in.
12. The law of the generic — Generic names fail. They worked 75 – 100 years ago, but not in today’s market. General Electric succeeds for many reasons, but not because of its name.
13. The law of the company — A company’s name should be much smaller than the brand name.
Procter & Gamble has little to do with TIDE’s success.
14. The law of sub brands — Sub branding dilutes the message and confuses the consumer. Holiday Inn Deluxe, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Select. What exactly do they mean?
15. The law of siblings — There is a time and place to launch a second brand. Honda launched Acura, they didn’t call the new models Honda Plus or Honda Ultra.
16. The law of shape — Brand names (logos) should be horizontal, not vertical in orientation.
17. The law of color — Color is a powerful tool for staking out territory in a consumer’s mind. Chose one
opposite of your primary competitors. Sprint is Yellow. AT&T is blue.
18. The law of borders — A brand should know no borders.
19. The law of consistency — Brands are not built overnight. Their success is measured over years.
20. The law of change — Brands can be changed, but only infrequently and only very carefully.
21. The law of mortality — No brand lives forever. When paradigms shift and whole industries change, it may
be time to use the cash reserves to introduce a new brand and lay to rest the old.
22. The law of singularity — A brand is a single idea or concept that you own inside the mind of the prospect. Atari was “video games,’ when it ventured into computers, it died.