Categorized | books, the branding notebook

In which we put Al Ries naked into a Jacuzzi to see if his 22 Immutable Laws stand up

Al Ries - The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

Faithful readers of this blog know that we’re taking on the formidable and legendary Ragin’ Al Ries and his popular bestseller, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, by throwing famous and successful brands at him totally at random. Since no-one here at Shoestring Venture likes to play by anyone’s rules — and since we’ve never met a successful entrepreneur that believes in an immutable law of anything — we’ve decided to make Ragin’ Al’s book a bit more useful by “smarting it up,” so to speak. It’s not like we’re trying to disprove Al Ries (he is, after all, one of the most famous branding experts on this side of Paradise), we’re just trying to make the book a bit more in line with the potential every brand has.

So, without further ado, we’re stripping Ragin’ Ries and dumping him into a Jacuzzi bath. Will his laws of brand unity stand up against the onslaught?

Jacuzzi
Jacuzzi is a relatively young brand, but like Kleenex, Xerox, and Formica, the brand name has become the “name” of the underlying commodity by relentlessly focusing on its core product. Ragin’ Al, of course, would have kittens — you never, ever let your brand become the generic name of the underlying product unless you want all the wrath of heaven to descend on you (The Law of Generics).

To make matters worse, the company has rolled out its share of subbrands, such as Roman Bath, Adonis tub, PowerPro, J-Dream, J-Dream II, J-Care as well as line extensions into shower products, busting Ries’ laws of Expansion, Contraction, and Subbrands (well, maybe).

However, the staff here at Shoestring pretty much decided that Jacuzzi is still a pretty good fit for the one brand-one thing principle because, first, in the line extensions, Jacuzzi succeeded by following the Blue Oceans corollary – they rapidly moved into similar category without a strong brand leader. Second, the subbrands were put on the market more as consecutive models signifying technology innovation, rather than as stand-out brands, so they don’t really qualify as subbrands (in much the same way BMW rolls out new models as numbers rather than brands). Simply reading the model list impresses you with how little awareness they generate relative to the core brand, whereas “Mustang” and “Ford” are equally familiar. Ries puts it this way: “What the company sees as a brand, the consumer sees as a model.” (76), leading us to our Model corollary:

The Model Corollary
One brand = one thing = one word in the consumer’s mind.

BUT . . .

The brand may require different model names, as long as the brand sells the product and the model name describes it.

So, Al stood up pretty well in the Jacuzzi tub. Congrats!

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 18: The Final Word

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11 Responses to “In which we put Al Ries naked into a Jacuzzi to see if his 22 Immutable Laws stand up”

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  1. [...] 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 [...]

  2. [...] 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 [...]

  3. [...] 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 [...]

  4. [...] 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 [...]

  5. [...] 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 [...]

  6. [...] 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 [...]

  7. [...] 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 [...]

  8. [...] 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 [...]

  9. [...] 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 [...]

  10. [...] 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 [...]

  11. [...] 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 [...]


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