Skip to main content
Marketing Leads

The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding: Part 9 of 12 — chapters 17 & 18

By February 1, 2012November 2nd, 2021No Comments

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

Forgot to read last week? Here is Part 8.

Part 9

Chapter 17 – The Law of Color
A brand should use a color that is the opposite of its major competitor.

Make a brand distinctive with color.

There are 5 basic colors (red, orange, yellow, green and blue) plus the neutral colors (black, white and gray). Stick to one of these 5 primary colors.

All colors are not created equal in the eye of the beholder. Red colors appear to move toward your eyes while you’re looking at it while blue colors appear to move away from you. Because of these physical reasons, red is the color of energy excitement. Blue is the opposite of red. Blue is peaceful and tranquil. Blue is a laid-back color.

In the world of brands, red is a retail color used to attract attention. Blue is a corporate color used to communicate stability. For example, Coca-Cola red and IBM blue.

Orange is more like red than blue. Green is more like blue than red. Yellow is a neutral color, but it is also the brightest color used to communicate “caution”.

When selecting a color for a brand or a logo, managers usually focus on the mood they want to establish rather than the unique identity they want to create. While that is important, other factors should over-ride a choice based on mood alone.

It’s more important to create a separate brand identity than it is to use the right symbolic color.

There is a powerful logic for selecting a color that is the opposite of your major competitors. When you ignore this law of color, you do so at your own risk.

Be the opposite. Kodak is yellow, so Fuji is green.

Think of the unmistakable color of a Tiffany box. By standardizing on a single color and using it consistently over the years, you can build a powerful visual presence in a clutter-filled world. Women hug their husbands as soon as they see the robin’s-egg blue box – without opening it they know it will be wonderful.

Color consistency over the long term can help a brand burn its way into the mind.
Chapter 18 – The Law of Borders
There are no barriers to global branding. A brand should know no borders.

Most companies strongly believe 2 things:
1.) Their brands’ market shares cannot be substantially increased in their home countries.
2.) They need to grow.

As a result, they fall victim to teh first law of branding, the law of expansion. “Expanding our line may be dangerous, but it’s the only way to grow.” It’s NOT the only way to grow. In fact, the perfect solution to achieving both goals is to build a global brand. That means:

  • Keep the brand’s narrow focus in its home country.
  • Go global.

Crossing a border often does add value to a  brand. Since value lies in the  mind of the consumer, the perception of where the brand came from can add or subtract value.

Every country has its own unique perceptions. When a brand is in sync with its own country’s perceptions, that brand has the possibility of becoming a global brand. The world is becoming one big global market and your product had better get on the global bandwagon or risk losing out altogether.

To be successful as a worldwide brand, you need to do two things:
1.) You need to be first.
2.) Your product needs to fit the perceptions of its country of origin.

The perception of a country is important. There is no such thing as a global brand with a global perception.

It doesn’t matter where your brand is conceived, designed, or produced, it’s name and connotations determine its geographic perception.

A trend in global branding: the use of English words for brands that may have no connection with the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, or any other English-speaking country.

English has become the second language of the world. If you are going to develop a brand name for use on the world-wide market, the name better work in English. It doesn’t have to be an English word, but it should sound like one.

Ready for more? Here’s Part 10.


Schedule Discovery Call