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
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Chapter 21 – The Law of Mortality
No brand will live forever. Euthanasia is often the best solution.
While the laws of branding are immutable, brands themselves are not.
Once you understand the nature of branding, you’ll know when it is time to let your old brand die a natural death.
Opportunities for new brands are constantly being created by the invention of new categories.
It’s like life itself. A new generation appears on the scene and goes off in exciting new directions. Careers are born and blossom. Meanwhile, the old generation withers and dies.
Don’t fight it. For brands, like people, there is a time to live and a time to die. And, ultimately, there is a time to put the brand to sleep.
Companies make serious errors of judgment when they fight what should be a natural process.
Don’t waste money on walkers and wheelchairs. Spend your money on the next generation. Invest your money in a new brand with a future.
Many managers make poor financial decisions because they fail to distinguish between two aspects of a brand’s value.
- How well known the brand is
- What the brand stands for
A well-known brand that doesn’t stand for anything (or stands for something that is obsolete) has no value. A brand that stands for something has value even if the brand is not particularly well known.
When a revolutionary new category develops, the inevitable winner is a revolutionary new brand name.
Chapter 22 – The Law if Singularity
The most important aspect of a brand is its single-mindedness.
What’s a Chevrolet? A large, small, cheap, expensive car or truck.
What’s a Miller? A regular, light, draft, cheap, expensive beer.
What’s a Panasonic? At one point in time, Panasonic was a computer, computer printer, facsimile machine, scanner, telephone, television set, and copier, among other things.
These are all burned-out brands because they have lost their singularity. Loss of singularity weakens a brand.
It’s this singularity that helps a brand perform its most important function in society.
What’s a brand? A proper noun that can be used in place of a common word.
Instead of an imported beer, you can ask for a Heineken.
Instead of an expensive Swiss watch, you can ask for a Rolex.
Instead of a thick spaghetti sauce, you can ask for Prego.
Instead of a safe car, you can ask for a Volvo.
Instead of a driving machine, you can ask for a BMW.
What’s a brand? A singular idea or concept that you own inside the mind of the prospect. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.