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5.0 out of 5 stars "Yeah, right," I said
I do a little consulting in marketing & branding. I've got five other books on branding sitting on the shelf, & I've plowed through four.
I wouldn't say those other books were a waste of time, but I'm confident that this one has more immediately useful information than all of them taken together. And I'm stunned that it as easy read, not only informative but...
Published on April 20 2004 by Anthony D Ravenscroft

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3.0 out of 5 stars Great Ideas, but this book is dated. Ignore the 'prognostication'
What is a brand? Is it a name? A logo? A funky design or attitude? A brand is a symbol for an idea. More specifically, a brandname is a word that can be uttered in any country, in any 'language' and mean the same thing. If a company is consistent and strong in repeating the same message over and over, in time, its brandname will become synonymous with an idea. If the...
Published on Dec 7 2011 by Michael A. Robson


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3.0 out of 5 stars Great Ideas, but this book is dated. Ignore the 'prognostication', Dec 7 2011
By 
What is a brand? Is it a name? A logo? A funky design or attitude? A brand is a symbol for an idea. More specifically, a brandname is a word that can be uttered in any country, in any 'language' and mean the same thing. If a company is consistent and strong in repeating the same message over and over, in time, its brandname will become synonymous with an idea. If the company keeps changing its stripes, the name never catches on, and means nothing. McDonalds is about Family Food. Subway is about Fresh. Pepsi is about Fun

If you get really good at this, as a Brand Manager, and you create a brand new product and its name can describe an entire category. A few examples of unbeatable brandnames often mistaken for actual words:Xerox.Band-Aid.RollerBlade. Even the iPod for a time was the 'placeholder' word that meant 'Digital Music Player'.

Moreover, brands are not only synonymous with ideas, they're synonymous with colors. Again, this only works if, after decades of promotion, the company has been consistent:Coca Cola is Red. IBM is Blue. John Deere is Green

The list here is short, because frankly, many companies screw this up. They pick the wrong color. They don't pick a color. They pick two colors. Pepsi, though a very successful company, foolishly picked Red and Blue as their colors when going up against the Red of Coca Cola (the leader in the market). Obviously, they should have just gone with deep Blue. They figured it out eventually, but they're still stuck with a blue and red logo. Oops.

Not only are companies brands, but people are brands too:

How can a man or woman have a strong brand? Stephen King has a brand (though recently he's moved away from horror). Stanley Kubrick had one. So did Steve Jobs. Kobe Bryant and Lebron James have brands too (you have to actually have a brand before you can get paid to put it on a shoe or T-shirt, by the way). Anna Kournikova used to have a brand, but she doesn't play tennis anymore.

These are names. And these are people who at some point in their lives were the first at doing something. They found their niche and they excelled. They achieved tremendous success often at a young age.

And yes, People can have colors. In the latter half of his career, Steve Jobs was almost never seen (even by his family) without his signature black mock turtleneck. Remember Eminem's white T-shirt and dyed hair? Same thing. When Eminem went away from that, he largely went away from the spotlight. He's basically a producer now.

How do you build your corporate and personal brand? Surprisingly, it's not done with ads. In a bit of brilliant irony, most people watching TV (eg. Superbowl ads) assume that advertisements are trying to push a companies products and brands to growth. After all, don't we hear about a company for the first time, when their new product comes out?

No. Wrong. That might be what some short-lived companies are trying to do, but that's not possible. The only way to grow is through publicity. And how do you get publicity? How do you get in the New York Times and Financial Post? You get there by being the first and the best. Only when you've achieved something of this stature do you start advertising'not to grow marketshare, but to maintain marketshare you already have. Maybe that's why Amazon.com doesn't need to advertise. And up until recently, Microsoft Windows didn't need advertising either. How could these two companies advertise when they seemed to have no competitors?

So look at your own career right now: are you the best in the city at anything? Best in the Country? Best in the world? How can you be number 1 at something? Shrink your focus until you are number one.

So, how do you grow? By always being #1, not by growing so much beyond your niche that you're no longer number one. Read that last line again. Look at Amazon: they used to be the worlds biggest bookstore. Now they're calling themselves 'Earth's Biggest Selection'. Kinda vague and'is it even true? Probably. But it also means now they're competing against' Wal-Mart. Was that the original Amazon brand? Buying clothes and electronics? No way. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is very smart, so he can probably pull it off, but it also leaves room for other companies to swoop in and focus on books. That's probably what the guys at Barnes and Noble are telling themselves.

Hopefully, you don't have to worry about competitors like Amazon. Hopefully you don't have to worry about what color their logo is, and what their market share is, because hopefully your company, your product (and your ideas and your personality) are so good that you don't have to own a current market, because you created a new one and own that.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Internet section is the weakness, March 5 2008
By 
C. Tyler "Tyler" (Toronto) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The first 22 laws were short and snappy with examples. Made a lot of things make sense to me. The last 11 laws were a laborious read taking up far more paper than was warranted. Buy it for the first 22. Suffer though the last 11 if you must.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Give credit where credit is due, May 20 2004
By A Customer
Nearly everything in this book is copied verbatim from the marketing classic "Positioning, the battle for you mind" by Jack Trout; Give credit where it's actually due.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Yeah, right," I said, April 20 2004
By 
Anthony D Ravenscroft (Santa Fe, NM United States) - See all my reviews
I do a little consulting in marketing & branding. I've got five other books on branding sitting on the shelf, & I've plowed through four.
I wouldn't say those other books were a waste of time, but I'm confident that this one has more immediately useful information than all of them taken together. And I'm stunned that it as easy read, not only informative but *fun*.
This edition is the one you want, as it combines the 22 laws with the other 11 that pertain very specifically to the Internet. By the time you get through the first few, you will find yourself looking at every brand -- on television, in the stores, on your own shelves -- in a whole new light. One of the prime models, coincidentally enough, is Amazon.com itself. The authors' comments on this very site will probably open your eyes to how remarkable the Bezos legacy has been.
I've barely finished, yet this book has already helped steer me better as to some website questions I had been studying. It's already paid for itself ten times over, & I am certain that the benefits have only begun. The simple, clear differentiation between a company name & a brand name has, by itself, been a unique lesson, & I've taken to heart the stern warnings (& wonderfully absurd object lessons) against line extensions & brand dilution.
Don't let the somewhat bizarre cover put you off (as it did me). This is one of the few books that I intend to re-read on a regular basis, & I will read more Reis titles in the near future.
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4.0 out of 5 stars YOU'LL BE "INVOLVED" WITH THIS LITTLE RIES CAMEO, Oct. 28 2003
By 
Shashank Tripathi (Gadabout) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I write reviews on Amazon rather avidly. When I started reading this particular book, I knew it would be a good number to review. So I started marking everything in the book that I disagreed with or that I felt was worth commenting on.
That the Ries duo relies on sweeping statements (e.g., "Quality of a product doesn't matter. It's all about brands.") hardly made my intentions any easier. Needless to say, my copy of 22 Immutable Laws of Branding is riddled with lots of ink and copious sidenotes. There is a lot I said "Really?" to while reading.
But maybe that's the thing I adore about Ries Inc. Their books are anything but boring manuals on a topical issue so relevant to almost anyone in business. I was "involved" with this book like I have seldom been with a work of non-fiction. I adored and went all retrospective with the "Law of the Name" and the "Law of Globalism". The writing is trippy, semi-provocative and hence absolutely delectable in a piece of work such as this!
Do I recommend it? Wholeheartedly. A wonderfully satisfying read. Just keep your discerning senses about you and think twice before wrapping your (brand management) career around all the advice this book proffers.
Noteworthy: The whole book is also available in a PDF version, if you are not particularly averse to on-screen reading.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Taking branding seriously, Oct. 18 2003
By 
Cladinoro (The Eastern States) - See all my reviews
I've been branding for most of my life. It's an intrinsic and essential feature of my profession. I thought I knew pretty much all there was to know - that is, until I saw this book. It claims to cover everything, and I must admit even I would be hard pressed to come up with 22 laws. Personally, I find some of the concepts apparently introduced in this book a bit far-fetched; I can't imagine how an idea like "branding people's minds" could be put into practice, nor, indeed, why you would want to. And as for "branding over the internet", well, to me that's just pure science fiction. Branding is a fairly personal thing, though, and everyone has their own tricks and techniques. I applaud the author for treating it as a serious enough subject to warrant an entire book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Includes an additional 11 laws for Internet branding., Oct. 5 2003
By 
Harinath Thummalapalli (Austin, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book was recommended to me by my business coach and I have not regretted the purchase ever. At first, I was a little concerned with the strange looking cover with the difficult to read font and the bright colors. My concern was that if they know so much about branding, why this kind of a cover.
But my concerns end with the cover as everything in between was very well laid out, backed by common sense and facts based on real companies. There are several examples used on every page to explain the total of 33 immutable laws (22 regular and 11 internet). We all intuitively understand branding because we are consumers and hence experience on a daily basis our purchasing being swayed by branding. So it was very nice to be able to read this perfect book on branding and understand so much in such a short time. It won't take more than a few hours to read this book cover to cover.
Let me share an example law without spoiling the book for you - #4 Internet Law: The Law of the Proper Name explains how proper names are better than common names for Internet branding. The clear proof of this is in the common names that never took off - drugs.com, university.com, wine.com, telephone.com, etc. and the proper names that did take off - priceline.com, amazon.com, etc. And I really like the explanation for why this law works.
So if you are a small business owner who can influence the branding of your business, products and services - go ahead and buy a copy of this book as you won't regret it. Of course, the content of this book is not restricted to small businesses. I am sure almost anyone involved in the branding efforts of the companies they work for will find it useful.
Good luck!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A practical book...with rather tunnle vision of branding, Sept. 4 2003
For anyone involved in branding this book gives very practical advice. A common complaint about business books is that they only see things from marketing functions and lacks overall strategic consideration. Overall very impressive and a must read for anyone involved in advertising or marketing! Another book I highly recommended is 60-Minute Brand Strategist by Idris Mootee. This book is really LOADED with SOILD, meaty real world branding insights and techniques that can are being kept as trade secrets. You will probably find this book a real eye opener. If you're looking for a more balanced marketing book, suggest going for David Aaker's books, some Kotler's books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but a bit subjective, Aug. 21 2003
By 
Alden Kroll (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
This book does a great job of boiling down some of the most important factors of corporate branding into 22 well organized groups. I don't believe by any means that these "laws" are immutable, but I think they provide great insight into the basics of brand development. Having said that, I wouldn't suggest relying solely on this book if you are trying to establish a strong brand for your own organization. Hire a professional firm.
While I found this book to be very concise in form and organization, I did not appreciate how the authors make some of their subjective observations into fact, especially in the "11 immutable laws of internet branding" section of the book. I definitely recommend this book, but as they say: "Don't believe everything you read".
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, Aug. 16 2003
By 
I loved this book. Not only are the 22 laws excellent, but they are very quick and easy to read. Every page is interesting, written with a lively, enthusiastic tone. One of the best 3-4 business books i've read so far.
I would definitely recommend you this book, unless you're a true excellent expert in branding. In that case, you will probably know most of the 22 immutable laws. But even though, i think it's worth it that you spend a couple of bucks to double check, because every law is very important and you better be sure you know them all.
If you just know "a little" about branding, this is definitely a book that you will enjoy reading very much.
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