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Showing 1-10 of 16 reviews(1 star).Show all reviews
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2003
The authors seem to think a company's success rises and falls on branding alone - no other factors (pricing, promotion, distribution, product quality, etc) are relevant. I suppose if you make your living taking consulting dollars from companies you need to build a mythology that branding is a mystic and powerful art that only highly paid professionals can master. They probably think the Titantic wouldn't have sunk if it had been branded better.
Many of their examples are poorly defended. As one reviewer put it they allow the reader to think of plenty of counterexamples.
The book would be much better with more analysis of success creation instead of repetitive bad-mouthing of 'bad moves'. For instance, they mention how Black & Decker successfully created the DeWalt brand, but the authors didn't discuss the appropriate scope for it. Should it apply only to drills? Cordless tools? High-priced tools? What would be the consequenses of defining the brand along these lines? Such a case study would have been more helpful in illustrating their points.
The arrogance of the author's make the read annoying, along with their neglect of the importance of marketing to the distributors as well as end users. For example, Coke needs to be in thousands of resturants, stadiums, and vending machines before it gets to consumers. This has ramifications on the breadth and scope of product line, not to mention distribution. Any marketing department has to consider factors like this, but the book oversimplifies all matters to branding decisions.
There are a few good points, however, about line extensions and cannibalization. Take the rest with a grain of salt.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2011
I'm surprised by the good reviews for this book. I've worked in advertising for 12 years, and I'm always picking up books to try to keep my thinking fresh and discover new ways of talking about my field with my clients and colleagues. I've found plenty of wisdom from books that (like this one) are targeted toward a beginner audience. But this book is just plain flat.

First of all, it provides only the most superficial and generic picture of the branding process, with few practical examples or applications (and even those that are included are afforded just a cursory glance). There is little practical advice for the average business (that is, any business that is NOT FedEx or or Volvo). The book's 22 chapters are not so much immutable laws as banal bumper stickers.

Chapters 16 and 17 (on logos and colors) particularly bother me. In fact, they are nothing but complete and utter bulls**t. The authors may know a thing or two about branding, but obviously have never developed a successful brand IDENTITY, unless by pure accident.

But the worst part of the book is that nearly half of its weight is taken up by the appended "11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding"... which is split between needless rehashing of the same points covered in the original volume, and hopelessly outdated prognostications on what the Internet will someday become ("someday"... as in five years ago; the volume was published in 2002, and it shows).

However, "22 Immutable Laws" does offer a plethora of well-written, quotable sentences that will no doubt make you look smarter in a meeting. Here are the best, so you don't have to wade through the book yourself:

"What is a brand? A singular idea or concept that you own inside the mind of a prospect."

"Everything a company does can contribute to the brand-building process."

"You have to reduce the essense of your brand to a single thought or attribute."

"Think like a customer and your brand will become more successful."

"What you think of your brand doesn't matter. It's only what your customer thinks of it that matters."
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2012
I think the Ries' got a little big in the britches, my favorite, "The PC, the Internet, and the Television set will combine? It will never happen, technologies don't converge. They diverge." or paraphrased "Who in the world wants to have their palm pilot, telephone, and CD player all in one?" LOL Oops, as I do this review on my smart phone while listening to Pandora. Completely discredits the rest of his "I am the smartest person in the world" crap. Save your money.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2000
After reading this book I truely get the feeling these two looked around their home, rounded up all the brands they ran across and decided to make a book out of it. Needed a few more bucks, I'm not sure?
I have never seen a more blatant use of glittering generalities in my life. All the examples they had were poorly supported, if at all. The law of contraction is just one example in which an analogy between the desire to become rich and acting like rich people, is flawed. The authors illustrate that if you were to start buying "expensive houses and eat in expensive restaurants" you wouldn't be rich, you'd just be poor. Well duh. They go on to say that you must do what rich people did before they were rich..."narrow their focus". While there is a modicum of truth in this it does not account for the continual refinement, and optimization that sucessfull brands adhere to on a daily basis, not just as a thought in the begining that you might want to consider. The argument basically states that you get rich, spend all your money, and once it's gone, that's it. Nevermind the work it takes to achieve and maintain your wealth.
There are morsels of information that get your mind thinking but if you can barrow the book from a friend I recommend that before I would purchase it.
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10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2000
Just the thought that there could be a set number of "laws", or that those laws are "immutable" is pathetic. The husband and wife team does a wonderful job of making it sound like they have discovered these fundamental truths about branding and the Internet. Any in-depth examination of these over simplified and sometimes-bizarre rules leave you only with an empty sense of their cleverness and no clearer idea on how to approach the challenges of branding. If you thought that you knew nothing about branding, and want some reassurance that there are people out there writing books who know even less, than definitely buy this book. Especially if you want help to try and take advantage of the clueless nature of many naive dot-coms who are susceptible to such mumbo jumbo.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2015
truly terrible. Some advice is fine, but MOST of it is based off bad examples where they're only seeing what they want to see (examples of ford & Levi's early on are WAY WRONG! Where did they get their info?)

Basically, this is a few hundred pages of bad data, totally mis-informed "stories" and "examples" and FLUFF!

This book was recommended to me by a friend, and I honestly have to wonder if she had a few too many glasses of wine while reading & recommending this! Search pinterest for free branding advice that actually WORKS in 2015!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2015
Sad to say that this book was written based on anecdotal pontification about branding. There is nothing that you can glean from this book that isn't common sense. Very disappointed as I was hoping for some substantial writing with some degree of intellect. Look Elsewhere, its not in this book.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2010
This book is more about Ries point of view than any "immutable" laws I'm aware of. While well expressed these views seem to make an imbalanced and narrow assessment of how things work in the world. The book minimized the value of advertising, and the role of design in branding so much that it's not very useful for someone who is actually in branding. It may have more appropriately been called, an approach to doing business by someone who likes Coca Cola. Someone who wants to develop a sales strategy for a global product line might read it... I just didn't find it practical, especially since it's rather dated now, and a lot of the claims have been proved wrong by events since 2003.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2008
Having worked myself within academia for ten years and in the "real" world of marketing for about as long, I must say that this book fills no purpose at all. It is nothing but an arbitrary collection of guesses that are not proved, could not be proved and would be of limited valuen even if proved. Neither the acadmic nor the practitioner can find any real value in this book.

For the academic, the method of making unqualified guesses without being able to prove any of them is, I hope all will agree, worthless. Research is about being able to test and prove one's hypotheses, but the authors show no interest in that. It is more comfy to just make guesses, but it's not research.

For the practitioner, the scientific failures of the book may not be as important, but where's the value in it. Two guys make guesses about what might work in companies, but they have nothing at all to support their guesses.

All in all, this is a book that should never have been written, never read and certainly never relied upon.
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10 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2001
Let me begin by saying I completely concur with the other readers who trashed this book. It is a total time-waster, a plate of rhetorical tripe, as are the reviews of those who raved about the book (many obviously paid off to write a nice, tidy review). Most of the 'arguments' in this book could be overturned by your average teenager, and most of the 'laws' are reformulations of the first 'law' cursorily outlined in the first chapter. And just so you don't think I'm some skeptical quack, I happen to work for a large branding consultancy.
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