The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding: Part 8 of 12 — chapters 15 & 16

The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding: How to Build a Product or Service into a World-Class Brand

Written by: Al Ries and Laura Ries
Summarized by: Amie Hansen

Click here if you missed Part 7.

Part 8

Chapter 15 – The Law of Siblings
There is a time and a place to launch a second brand.

Keep the brand focused and ignore opportunities to get into new territories. But there comes a time when a company should launch a second brand. And perhaps a third, even a fourth.

A second-brand strategy i snot for every company. If handled incorrectly, the second brand can dilute the power of the first brand and waste resources. Yet, in some situations, a family of brands can be developed that will assure a company’s control of a market for many decades to come.

Take the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company. Wrigley had dominated the chewing gum market, but not with one brand. Wrigley has a family of brands (Big Red, Doublemint, Extra, Freedent, Juciy Fruit, Spearmint, Winterfresh).

The key to a family approach is to make each sibling a unique individual brand with its own identity. Resist the urge to give the brands a family look or a family identity. Make each brand as different and distinct as possible.

Wrigley’s first three brands (Juicy Fruit, Spearmint and Doublemint) are too much like line extensions. They need the Wrigley name to support their generic brand names. Big Red, Extra, Freedent and Winterfresh, however, can stand on their own, each as totally separate brands.

Time Inc. became the world’s largest magazine publisher, not by launching line extensions of its core brand, but by launching totally separate publications. Time Inc. has seven publishing powerhouses:
1.) Time
2.) Fortune (not Time for Business)
3.) Life (not Time for Pictures)
4.) Sports Illustrated (not Time for Sports)
5.) Money (not Time for Finances)
6.) People (not Time for Celebrities)
7.) Entertainment Weekly (not Time for Entertainment)

The strength of a brand lies in having separate, unique identity – not in being associated in the mind with a totally different category. Having a totally separate identity in the mind doesn’t mean creating a totally separate organization to handle each brand. Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company doesn’t have seven separate manufacturing plants, it has seven brands and one company, one sales force, one marketing organization.

When General Mills decided to get into the Italian restaurant business it did not do a spin off of its Red Lobster name. No Italian Red Lobsters. General Mills invented a separate brand called Olive Garden. With this strategy, the company was able to create the tow largest family-restaurant chains in America.

In the past, companies have created families of brands based on the principles behind the law of siblings. As time goes by, they forget why the brands were created in the first place. Instead of maintaining separate identities, the brands are mashed together and a layer of corporate frosting added on top. Instead of becoming stronger, the brands become weaker.

Many CEOs believe that a sibling strategy works best when the organization itself is decentralized. “Let the brands fight it out among themselves.” Not so.

A sibling strategy requires more top-management supervision, not less. The urgent, long-term need is to maintain the separation between the brands, not to make them all alike.

Corporate management should keep the following principles in mind when selecting a sibling strategy for its stable of brands.
1.) Focus on a common product area. Passenger cars, chewing gum, etc.

2.) Select a single attribute to segment. Price is the most common. By segmenting  a single attribute only, you reduce the potential confusion between your brands. Keep each brand unique and special.

3.) Set up rigid distinctions among brands. Price is the easiest  attribute to segment because you can put specific numbers on each brand.

4.) Create different, not similar brand names. You want to create a family of different brands. Alliteration is the curse of a sibling family.

5.) Launch a new sibling only when you can create a new category. New brands should not be launched just to fill a hole in the line or to compete directly with an existing competitor.

6.) Keep control of the sibling family at the highest level.

A family of sibling brands is not a strategy for every corporation. But where is is appropriate, a sibling strategy can be used to dominate a category over the long term.
Chapter 16 – The Law of Shape
A brand’s logotype should be designed to fit the eyes. Both eyes.

A logotype is a combination of a trademark, which is a visual symbol of the brand, and the name of the brand set in distinctive type.

Logotypes come in all shapes. But all shapes are not created equal in the eyes of the consumer. The ideal shape for a logotype is horizontal, roughly two and one-fourth units wide and one unit high.

This is true whenever the logotype is used: on buildings, brochures, letterheads, advertisements or calling cards.

Logotype designers often go way overboard n picking a typeface to express the attribute of a brand rather than its ability to be clearly read.

The truth is, the words (Rolex, Ralph Lauren, Rolls-Royce) are what communicate the power of the brands. The typefaces used in their logotypes can help or hinder the communication process, but only slightly.

Legibility is the most important consideration in selecting a typeface used in a logotype.

It’s a vicious cycle. In order to get the average prospect to notice the “mood” of the logotype you have to exaggerate the characteristics of the typography. And when you do that, you lose the logotype’s legibility. It’s not worth the trade-off.

The trademark, or visual symbol, is also overrated. The meaning lies in the word, or words, not the visual symbol. It’s the Nike name that gives meaning to the Swoosh symbol. The Swoosh symbol doesn’t give much meaning to the Nike brand.

The power of a brand name lies in the meaning of the word in the mind. For most  brands, a symbol has little or nothing to do with creating this meaning in the mind. There are only a handful of simple symbols that make effective trademarks.

Click here for Part 9.

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