Book Review: The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

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This month, we read The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries in the Indie Business Book Club. While the book is old (published in 2002), it proves that certain fundamental business principles really never change.

In today's technology filled world, failing to embrace the basics of business is a big mistake. After all, what good will it do to use technology to shine a bright light on a business that has no solid foundation? You'd just be shining a bright light on a lousy business, and no one can be successful doing that.

Book Review: The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

The authors say that a brand is a proper noun (just like a person, place or thing) that conveys a single proposition about a particular product or service. Here are the 22 “immutable” laws and a bit of commentary about each one.

  1. The Law of Expansion

    The power of a brand is inversely proportionate to its scope.

  2. The Law of Contraction: In order to dominate a category, you must narrow your brand's focus.
    The power of a brand is inversely proportionate to its scope.Click To Tweet

    Donna Maria, Indie Business Network

  3. The Law of Publicity

    What others say about your brand is much more powerful than what you say about it yourself.

  4. The Law of Advertising

    Advertising in its purest sense has changed so much since 2002 when this book was published that I think this chapter is useful mainly from an historical perspective, but our reader, Kimberlee Ann Donahue Mule from Three Sisters Herbals, had a great insight. She suggested that advertising to maintain positioning on a local level is probably a smart move.

  5. The Law of The Word

    If you want to build a brand, you must focus your branding efforts on owning a word in the prospect's mind. A word that nobody else owns.

  6. The Law of Credentials

    The crucial ingredient in the success of any brand is its claim to authenticity.

  7. The Law of Quality

    You can build quality into your product, but that has little to do with your success in the marketplace.

  8. Don't be a part of the market. Be the market.Click To Tweet

    Donna Maria, Indie Business Network

  9. The Law of Category

    Don't be a part of the market. Be the market.

  10. The Law of The Name

    The most valuable asset of the your company is the brand name you use to identify the products (or services) you sell.

  11. The Law of Extensions

    The fact that a financial opportunity (sale) works for your pocket book today does not mean that it will work for your pocket book tomorrow

  12. The Law of Fellowship

    Similar businesses seem to congregate in the same neighborhood

  13. A generic brand name will not differentiate your brand from the competition.Click To Tweet

    Donna Maria, Indie Business Network

  14. The Law of The Generic

    The problem with a generic brand name is its inability to differentiate the brand from the competition.

  15. The Law of The Company

    Customers relate more to the brand of product they are buying from you than they do to your company name.

  16. The Law of Subbrands

    When you feel the need to create subbrands, you are chasing the market, you are not building the brand.

  17. The Law of Siblings

    Build a solid core brand and then leverage it to add new brands that can support additional income streams in your business.

  18. The Law of The Shape

    The power of a brand name lies the meaning of the word in the mind. For most brands, a symbol has little or nothing to do with creating the meaning in the mind

  19. The Law of Color

    Be the opposite, when it comes to the color choice for your brand.

  20. The Law of Borders

    Global brands are known in part for the country they are from

  21. The Law of The Consistency

    Don't confuse your brand message. Be consistent and predictable.

  22. The Law of Change

    There are 3 basic “safe” times to change your brand: (1) when it's all but non-existent anyway; (2) when you do it very gradually over time (which is a pretty impossible task if you are a small business); and (3) when you want to become a more “mass” type brand by lowering your prices.

  23. The Law of Mortality

    While the laws of branding are immutable, brands themselves are not.

  24. The loss of singularity weakens a brand.Click To Tweet

    Donna Maria, Indie Business Network

  25. The Law of Singularity

    Loss of singularity weakens a brand.

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Did you read the this book with us? What insights can you share? If you are inspired by the information here, feel free to share in the comments below, or share on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.