The 22 Immutable Laws Of Branding Book Summary By Al Ries and Laura Ries

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The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding is the ultimate guide to branding.

It outlines a collection of dos and don'ts for marketing professionals that are meant to provide insight into the most successful strategies used by top brands in competitive markets.

The book dives into 22 main points and provides bite-sized nuggets of wisdom throughout that educate readers on how to properly market a brand in order to maximize reach and success.

With this book, marketers will be able to learn from the mistakes of others and confidently promote their brands with maximum potential for success.

The 22 Immutable Laws Of Branding Book

Book Name: The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding (Bite-sized branding tips from a dynamic marketing duo)

Author(s): Al Ries and Laura Ries

Rating: 4.6/5

Reading Time: 25 Minutes

Categories: Marketing & Sales

Author Bio

The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding was co-authored by father and daughter duo Al and Laura Ries.

Both are well-known in the marketing industry, with Al having worked on books such as Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, while Laura frequently appears as a guest and commentator in major media outlets.

Together, their consulting firm Ries & Ries has helped famed companies like Disney and Ford develop their brands.

It's no surprise then that The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding is highly revered among marketers!

Discover The 22 Laws Of Branding – What The World’s Top Companies Do To Stand Out In A Crowd

World's Top Companies

When it comes to branding, size does matter – and no one knows this better than the dynamic marketing duo behind The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding.

Their bite-sized tips are distilled from years of experience and cover everything from how to design an effective logo to choosing the right name, so you can gain a steady edge over your competitors.

In between the products we all know and love (and those we avoid) are endless products that simply stay in the shadow.

But what about those that want to stand out? That’s where branding is key; success isn’t just about having the best quality product or great advertising campaigns – but conveying an idea too.

From understanding why it’s important to promote your category as well as your product, to learning what thick spaghetti sauce means in brand terms, now you can have all the building blocks of successful branding at your fingertips with these easy-to-digest nuggets of wisdom.

The Three Laws Of Branding: Expansion, Contraction And Singularity

The success of many widely recognized brands is primarily due to their narrow focus.

This concept is known as the Law of Contraction and it states that a brand becomes stronger as it narrows its focus.

This law can be seen in action with companies such as Subway, which took one product – submarine sandwiches – and used it to become extremely successful.

Subway benefited from strong word-of-mouth marketing due to its singular approach and quickly grew into one of the most recognizable deli brands in the US.

Likewise, The Law of Singularity explains why some brands are so recognizable: they have something unique that sets them apart in people’s minds.

For example, saying “Rolex” may instantly conjure up images of expensive Swiss watches or thinking of Prego might evoke ideas of thick spaghetti sauce.

Chevrolet also serves as an example for why sticking too closely to the Law of Expansion can weaken a brand.

In trying to expand their range of products from small and affordable cars to luxury models, Chevrolet unintentionally diluted the power and recognition behind its name.

As a result, sales decreased from 1.5 million cars in 1987 to 0.83 million vehicles in 2001, demonstrating how important it is for a company to stay focused on niche areas that embody the core identity rather than spreading out too thin.

The Law Of Brand Building: Publicity Is Key To A Brand’S Success

Building a successful brand is essential in today’s crowded market and advertising agencies can help businesses with this.

However, the key to truly growing a brand and standing out from the crowd is through publicity.

Without a presence in the public eye any brand will not make an impact or last long, so attracting press coverage is vital if your goal is to increase awareness of your brand.

One way to do this is to be the first within your field, something that will often result in plenty of press coverage and recognisable branding over time.

Miller Brewing tried to launch their new Miller Regular beer but their attempt was not successful because there was nothing new or interesting about it that could attract attention and drive sales.

Advertising, on the other hand, comes into play once the publicity has died down and brands have already gained some traction.

The primary purpose of advertising should never be used as an opportunity to show off how superior one product might seem when compared to its competitors – customers want to know why they should choose your products over all others alone.

Every successful company understands this.

Budweiser markets itself as ‘The King of Beers’ while Goodyear consider themselves the #1 tyre manufacturer giving people the assurance they need that buying these brands would be making the right choice for them.

The 8 Laws Of Branding: Strategies That Will Make You Stand Out From The Crowd


If you want your brand to grow, it’s important to make sure that your customers associate it with a single positive concept.

That’s why the sixth law of branding – the Law of the Word – exists.

It states that any successful branding strategy should aim to achieve exactly this – make sure your brand is synonymous with one powerful idea that captures its essence perfectly.

An example would be Honda, who has made their brand name stand for “well engineered”, and Toyota, which owns the word “reliable”.

The next step is to expand your market category by promoting the category itself, not just your own product – this is the seventh Law of Category.

This might sound counter-intuitive, as it means helping out competitors too.

But if customers are getting what they want from a product, they don’t really care who’s providing it – convenience matters more than anything else.

The eighth law of Branding is known as the Law of Fellowship which states that competition in fact creates more opportunities for a brand by funneling attention to an entire market and raising customer interest.

A great example of this is Pepsi and Coca-Cola whose rivalry actually helped expand the soft drinks industry overall.

So there you have it: if you want your business to take off then you need to remember to do two things: make sure your brand name is associated with one strong concept, and ensure that you promote other products and services within your market category too – this will ultimately allow everyone involved to benefit from growth!

The Law Of Credentials States That Staking A Claim On Authenticity Is Essential For Effective Branding

When it comes to developing trust in a brand, credentials and perceptions of quality are absolutely key.

People naturally gravitate towards brands that seem popular and established – just think about a restaurant you might be trying for the first time.

If one is crowded with people and another is empty, which one are you more likely to go for?

One way to establish credentials is by claiming leadership in the field, either through marketing or establishing a new category where none existed before.

Quality also plays an important role; however research has revealed that there often isn’t alignment between product quality and success when it comes to branding.

That’s why perception matters – if consumers perceive your brand as representing high-quality products and services, then they’re more likely to trust it even if product quality isn’t necessarily outstanding.

A few methods can help you achieve this – narrowing the focus of your brand so that you become known for something specific, hiking prices (we all know how money talks!) or implementing claims on authenticity will all help build customer relationships founded on trust.

The Law Of Brand Consistency: Narrow Your Focus And Stick To It

When it comes to building a successful brand, companies need to think long-term.

Rushing out a whole host of new products and extensions may sound like an exciting way to pick up some quick business but in reality, it can actually damage a brand’s reputation.

Take the US beer industry as an example – back in the 1970s, there were just three dominant brands, who then tried to juice things up with 14 different types of beer between them.

But this did nothing to increase their market share or spur an increase in total beer consumption across the US overall.

Instead, companies are better off focusing on maintaining absolute consistency over time.

Narrow your focus and stick to it, even if it means resisting the temptation to add more products.

Volvo is one company that stuck with this concept for three decades and succeeded by focusing on producing solid, reliable cars that people came to associate with safety.

This kind of consistent branding is what will build long-lasting success faster than any short-term strategies focused on quick wins.

The Law Of Subbrands: Launching A New Subbrand Can Help Expand Your Company, But Careful Consideration Is Necessary

Expand Your Company

When a company decides to extend its reach, they should be careful to ensure that it doesn’t damage the core brand identity.

According to Al Ries and Jack Trout in “The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding”, this is one of the most important things to remember when engaging in expansion.

For example, Holiday Inn hotel company found out the hard way when they launched their subbrand, Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza.

Customers reported that despite enjoying their stay at Crowne Plaza hotels, they felt it was too expensive for something under the Holiday Inn label.

This goes to show why line extensions can sometimes be counterproductive.

Another approach companies take is by creating distinct brands called “siblings” – such as Time Inc’s successful launch of Fortune magazine and Sports Illustrated.

This ensures that each brand has it’s own identity and stands out on its own merits – much like mature siblings who pursue their separate lives after growing up together in a family.

Finally, if companies want to expand without weakening their original brand image, they can look into international growth with the Law of Borders which allows them maintain their core brand while reaching new customers in different parts of the world.

Overall, expansion should only be considered carefully and with thought towards preserving an individual company’s core brand identity firmly intact.

How To Design An Effective Logo: The Laws Of Shape, Typography And Color

Creating a distinctive and memorable logo is key for any brand’s success.

Logos should be designed in such a way that they stand out from their competitors and are easy to recognize.

This can be achieved through a few key design principles, one of which is the shape of the logo.

The ideal logo should follow an horizontal line, mirroring the way our eyes are laid out – about 2.25 units wide and 1 unit tall.

This has been proved to be more visually appealing and easier on its viewers’ eyes.

A good example of this is Avis’ logo – cleanly laid out along a horizontal axis, making it more striking than Arby’s vertically arranged cowboy hat.

Another important aspect to consider when creating a great logo is typography.

While stylized typefaces allow a greater degree of customization in order to create the personality you want, excessive embellishments could make your logo less legible.

The best logos will use clean and clear typography so that the words can do all the talking, like Rolex’s famous typeface does.

Finally, choose colors carefully as they can help you differentiate your brand from your competitors’.

To capture market share first movers have preferential access to choosing their signature color – one that should represent their category while also standing apart from other brands within it (like Johnny Deere with its grassy green).

On the other hand, if you find yourself coming second into the field be sure to use contrasting colors for even greater definition (like Pepsi by adding blue notes to Coca-Cola’s red).

The Law Of The Name: Choosing A Short And Unique Brand Name Is Essential For Success

Here’s a lesson that anyone creating a brand should take to heart: When it comes to choosing a name, try to make it short, unique and meaningful –and most importantly, different from the parent company name.

That way, your brand will stand out from the crowd and people will easily remember it.

Xerox is a great example of this.

In 1959 they launched their groundbreaking plain paper photocopier and the company quickly rose to fame due to its innovative technology and superior quality products.

Despite facing tough competition in the 2000s, Xerox retained its edge thanks to its short, unique, and memorable name.

The same goes for other leading brands such as McDonalds, Exxon, Walmart and Starbucks which all have non-generic names that make them instantly recognizable.

In some cases simply taking an ordinary word out of its regular context is enough to create an original brand name – think Budget rentals or Tide detergent – both of which cleverly use words that refer to their core business characteristics.

Finally, whatever you do – don’t confuse your consumers by using the same (or similar) names for your parent company and your brand itself!

Following this advice will help ensure maximum recognition for your product or service.

The Law Of Change: Making Changes To Your Brand When Necessary, And The Law Of Mortality: Accepting When Change May Not Be Enough

Making Changes

Changing the direction of a brand can be very risky, so it’s important to know when to make a change.

The Law of Change suggests that the best time for a brand overhaul is when you have nothing to lose, when your profit margins are high enough to lower prices without damaging its reputation, or when moving slowly allows your brand to evolve over time with minimal disruption.

Take Citicorp as an example; they started out as a corporate bank but slowly moved into the consumer market over 25 years.

This slow evolution made it possible for them to transition over without creating too much disruption or jarring customers’ perceptions.

While it is possible in some cases, reinventing a brand is rare and most companies find themselves battling an uphill struggle in order to keep their dying brands alive.

Kodak is one such example – even as digital photography was taking off they stuck with film photography, investing heavily in developing the Advanced Photo System and trying to get stores on board, only for other newer brands like Tide quickly outdoing them.

It’s important to remember that markets are always changing and some products will eventually give way to newer ones – in these cases it’s usually best just accept that and move on, launching a new brand instead of wasting resources trying desperately cling onto something that has past its sell-by-date.

Wrap Up

The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries and Jack Trout gives clear, actionable advice on creating a successful brand.

The key message from the book is that in order to stand out from competitors, you have to craft a unique and concise message for your brand.

This involves narrowing the focus and maintaining consistency throughout.

Color provides an effective way to separate yourself from competitors because it lets you tap into common symbolic associations.

For example, in health-foods green typically represents nature; luxury products might be best suited to purple; and healthcare products can use white as a suggestion of purity.

In conclusion, Ries and Trout’s book lays out a powerful framework for creating a lasting, impactful brand that will capture attention and remain memorable in the minds of potential customers.

By understanding what makes your company or product unique while taking advantage of symbolic color associations, your odds of success are greatly increased.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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