Categorized | books, the branding notebook

22 Immutable Laws of Branding, part two: Jell-O smacks down Al Ries!

Al Ries - The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

In our unusual book review series, the staff here at Shoestring Venture is out to break Al Ries 22 Immutable Laws of Branding one brand at a time. Because we don’t believe in negative reviews, we’ve decided to “smart up” what Ries has dumbed down by subjecting his polemics to a “brand test” of major super-brands to see if, indeed, his laws of branding are as immutable as he says. If not, then we here at Shoestring Venture are adding some valuable new principles and corollaries to the “immutable” laws. Today, it’s a no-holds barred wrestlemania match between Jell-O in this corner and Ries in the other!

Jell-O
As befits its hard-to-hold nature, Jell-O is not just one successful brand, but many: Jell-O gelatin (mix and Jell-O snacks), Jell-O pudding (mix and snacks), and Jell-O frozen pudding pops. Beginning life as a gelatin mix, the brand successfully expanded into pudding and dominated that market. In the 1970’s, in response to the declining market in gelatin and pudding, they created an entirely new category with Jell-O pudding pops and, in violation of Ries’ Law of Extensions, ported their brand into this new category. And even more extensions: Jell-O 1-2-3, snack cups, light versions, jigglers, and all sorts of other spin-offs.

Jell-O, on its jiggly surface, at least, totally disproves Ries’ one brand-one thing principle by violating every single one of the seven laws at the heart of that principle. However, Jell-O had no significant brand competition in the gelatin market when it expanded to pudding and no significant pudding mix brand competition when it expanded into frozen pudding pops – a whole new category that, like pudding snack cups, is still essentially pudding. Jell-O provides some useful lessons: expanding into the snack cup line slammed them into heavy brand competition with a powerful brand (Hunt’s), so the extension didn’t do well. But their original expansion into pudding and later into frozen pudding pops put them into unowned competitive space. So, to the Law of the One, we can add an important corollary, what I call the Blue Oceans corollary:

The Blue Ocean Corollary
According to Ries: One brand = one thing = one word in the consumer’s mind.

BUT . . .

If you can expand your line into a highly similar uncontested category, you can use brand equity to own more than one word and one thing in the consumer’s mind.

Breaking The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding one brand at a time, part 1
Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary
Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary
Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value Corollary
Part 5: Jacuzzi, or The Model Corollary
Part 6: Formica, or The Intel Inside Corollary
Part 7: Tiffany’s, or The Retail Corollary
Part 8: Vaseline, or The Reinforcement Corollary
Part 9: Fruit of the Loom: The Opportunity Principle of Branding
Part 10: Tylenol, or The Brand Leadership Principle
Part 11: Maytag, or The Principle of the Word
Part 12: Gucci, or The New and Improved Principle of the Word
Part 13: Rubbermaid, or The Blue Oceans Principle of Branding
Part 14: Yamaha, or The Cultural Principle
Part 15: Ivory, or The Principle of Transcendence
Part 16: Al Ries on how to build a brand
Part 17: Al Ries on how to maintain a brand
Part 15: The Final Word

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14 Responses to “22 Immutable Laws of Branding, part two: Jell-O smacks down Al Ries!”

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  1. [...] later extensions were not Blue Oceans extensions involving a market with weak or no competitors, but were instead moves into highly competitive [...]

  2. [...] The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding one brand at a time, part 1 Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value [...]

  3. [...] ideally, at the very beginning a brand owner should strive to own a word not already owned (see our Blue Oceans Principle), in the way that Stolichnaya set out to own the word “premium Vodka.” From a conceptual point [...]

  4. [...] The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding one brand at a time, part 1 Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value [...]

  5. [...] The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding one brand at a time, part 1 Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value [...]

  6. [...] The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding one brand at a time, part 1 Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value [...]

  7. [...] The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding one brand at a time, part 1 Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value [...]

  8. [...] The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding one brand at a time, part 1 Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value [...]

  9. [...] The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding one brand at a time, part 1 Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value [...]

  10. [...] The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding one brand at a time, part 1 Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value [...]

  11. [...] The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding one brand at a time, part 1 Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value [...]

  12. [...] The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding one brand at a time, part 1 Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value [...]

  13. [...] The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding one brand at a time, part 1 Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value [...]

  14. [...] The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding one brand at a time, part 1 Part 2: Jello, or The Blue Oceans Corollary Part 3: Aunt Jemima, or The Love and Marriage Corollary Part 4: Campbells, or The Brand Value [...]


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