The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding Book Summary - The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding Book explained in key points
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The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding summary

Al Ries Laura Ries

Bite-sized branding tips from a dynamic marketing duo

4.5 (131 ratings)
25 mins

Brief summary

The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries explains the laws that every brand needs to follow for success. It outlines practical strategies for building and maintaining a strong brand identity in an ever-evolving market.

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    The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
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    Brands become stronger the more narrowly focused they are.

    What’s the first thing that you think of when you hear the word Chevrolet? If you’re having trouble crystallizing a clear image in your mind, you’re not alone. That’s because Chevrolet produces a large range of products from small and affordable to large and luxurious cars.

    This is a great example of the Law of Expansion, the first law of branding that we’ll explore in these blinks. It states that a brand becomes weaker as it expands and loses focus.

    So why did Chevrolet dilute the strength of its brand?

    Like most companies, it put short-term interests ahead of long-term strategy. Expansion allowed the firm to sell more cars in the short run. But what initially seemed like a boon turned out to be a mistake in the long run, because it weakened the brand name. Sales declined dramatically from 1.5 million cars in 1987 to 0.83 million vehicles in 2001.

    A company’s brand grows stronger when it narrows its focus. That’s the second law, the Law of Contraction.

    Take delis. While there are millions of them all across the United States, there’s no nationwide deli chain with a strong brand. That’s easy enough to explain in terms of the first law. Delis typically feature a wide range of products, from sandwiches and soups to bagels, muffins, doughnuts, cookies, ice cream, beverages, newspapers, cigarettes and lottery tickets – pretty much anything and everything!

    The company that comes closest to a national deli brand is Subway. Its growth exemplifies the second law. Founded in 1965 by Fred DeLuca, it took a novel approach to the idea of a deli and radically stripped back the range of products on offer to just one item: the submarine sandwich.

    The move was a savvy one and Subway has gone on to enjoy phenomenal success. By 2001, it had 12,629 stores across the United States, a number only topped by McDonald’s.

    Like Subway, the most recognizable brands are those which develop a singular focus. Call it the Law of Singularity. That’s the third law of branding.

    Strong branding makes product names synonymous with an everyday object or idea. Think of the way that the brand name Prego can stand in for “thick spaghetti sauce,” for example. Or the way in which an expensive Swiss watch is interchangeable with the name Rolex.

    If a brand’s core identity is strong enough, even brands like Walmart that sell a dizzying array of products can distinguish themselves. How does that work? Well, Walmart still has a singular focus. Every product on its shelves is there because it embodies the company’s ethos of focusing on low prices.

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    What is The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding about?

    The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding (1998) is a practical, hands-on guide to the dos and don'ts of branding. Covering 22 memorable bite-sized nuggets of wisdom, these blinks provide an overview of the all-too-common mistakes made by marketers and showcases the tricks of the trade used by the most successful brands to assert their dominance in ultra-competitive markets.

    The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding Review

    The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding (2002) is a must-read for anyone interested in building a successful brand. Here's why this book stands out:

    • With its practical strategies and insights, it offers a roadmap for creating a strong and enduring brand that stands out in a crowded market.
    • Backed by numerous case studies, it demonstrates how following these laws can lead to increased brand recognition and customer loyalty.
    • By exploring the underlying principles behind successful brands, the book provides readers with a deeper understanding of what makes brands truly memorable and impactful.

    Best quote from The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

    Customers dont really care about new brands, they care about new categories.

    —Al Ries and Laura Ries
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    Who should read The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding?

    • Entrepreneurs looking for tips on positioning their brand
    • Anyone who’s ever wondered how advertising works
    • Anyone interested in communication and marketing

    About the Author

    Al and Laura Ries are a father and daughter marketing duo whose consulting firm Ries & Ries counts illustrious names like Disney and Ford among its clients. Besides The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, the pair have co-authored four other titles. Al is also known for his influential book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, while Laura frequently appears as a guest and commentator on major news outlets.

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    The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding FAQs 

    What is the main message of The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding?

    The main message of The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding is the importance of building and maintaining a strong brand identity.

    How long does it take to read The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding?

    The estimated reading time for The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding is a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding is worth reading for its valuable insights into brand building. It offers practical advice and real-world examples.

    Who is the author of The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding?

    The authors of The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding are Al Ries and Laura Ries.

    What to read after The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout
    • Rethinking Prestige Branding by Wolfgang Schaefer and J.P. Kuehlwein
    • Better Brand Health by Jenni Romaniuk
    • What Great Brands Do by Denise Lee Yohn
    • Unconscious Branding by Douglas van Praet
    • Disruptive Branding by Jacob Benbunan
    • Influence by Robert B. Cialdini
    • The Power of When by Michael Breus
    • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey