Book review: The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries

This is really one of the best, short books on branding ever written! 

The book was first penned in 2003 but the lessons the book highlights are eternal. It is an easy read and packed full of no-nonsense insights on what branding really means, with lots of examples of brand success and failure e.g.

‘From a business point of view, branding in the marketplace is very similar to branding on the ranch.

A branding programme should be designed to differentiate your cow from all the other cattle on the range. Even if all the cattle on the range look pretty much alike.

A successful branding programme is based on the concept of singularity. It creates in the mind of the prospect the perception that there is no product on the market quite like your product.’

The book takes you step by step through 22 Laws. There are so many easy to apply concepts and insights that make you stop and think. 

One of our favourites is the Law of the Word:

‘A brand should strive to own a word in the mind of the customer. A word that nobody else owns.’

What’s your own word?

For example, what comes to mind when you think of Mercedes, or Volvo? 

Which one do you choose, the one that is aesthetically beautiful and superbly engineered or the one, which prides itself on keeping you safe, protecting you and your family should the worse happen? 

Both brands target different customers, both brands own different words in the mind of their target customer.

The overarching book’s core message is about narrowing your proposition so that it stands for something that your target market needs and desires. 

Ironically, expanding your brand diminishes the power of your proposition and weakens your image; you need to do the opposite: 

‘You should limit your brand. That's the essence of branding. Your brand has to stand for something both simple and narrow in the mind. This limitation is the essential part of the branding process.’

Put another way, it is about creating your niche, if implemented successfully, you will not need to search for clients; clients will seek you out instead.

If you are unsure what your brand stands for or want to leverage your brand to grow your business, this book will definitely be worth the investment  - the Kindle edition on Amazon is now only £3.99!