Latish Sehgal's Blog

Book Notes: The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

Read On: Oct 2014
Reading Time: 5 hours
Rating: 7/10


This book proclaims that the only way to stand out in today’s marketplace is to build your product or service into a brand, and provides the step-by-step instructions you need to do so. The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding is the essential primer on building a category-dominating, world-class brand.


  • Today most products and services are bought, not sold. And branding greatly facilitates the process. A branding program should be designed to differentiate your products from others.
  • Law of Expansion: The power of a brand is inversely proportional to its scope. When you put your brand name on everything, that name loses its power. In the long term, expanding your brand will diminish your power and weaken your image.
  • Law of Contraction: A brand becomes stronger when you narrow its focus. If you want to be rich, do what rich people did before they got rich and not what they do now.
  • Law of Publicity: The birth of a brand is achieved with publicity, not advertising. We live in an overcommunicated society, where each of us get hit with hundreds of messages daily. The best way to generate publicity is by being first in a new category. When your brand can make news, it has a chance to generate publicity, and the best way to make news is to announce a new category, not a new product.
  • Law of Advertising: Once born, a brand needs advertising to stay healthy. Advertising budget keeps you from losing market share to your competition. Sooner or later, a leader has to shift its branding strategy from publicity to advertising.
  • Law of the Word: A brand should strive to own a word in the mind of the consumer.
  • Law of the Credentials: The crucial ingredient in the success of any brand is its claim to authenticity. Never forget leadership. Once you get to the top, it’s hard to lose your spot.
  • Law of Quality: Quality is important, but brands are not built on quality alone.
  • Law of the Category: A leading brand should promote the category, not the brand. Narrow the focus on a slice of the market. Then make your brand name stand for the category at the same time that you expand the category by promoting the benefits of the category, not the brand.
  • Law of the Name: In the long run, a brand is nothing more than a name.
  • Law of Extensions: The easiest way to destroy a brand is to put its name on everything. It’s better to launch a second brand rather than introducing a line extension and damaging your own market share.
  • Law of Fellowship: In order to build the category, a brand should welcome other brands. Choice stimulates demand. If there is no choice, customers are suspicious. For each category, two major brands seem to be ideal. When there is too much choice, consumption suffers.
  • Law of the Generic: One of the fastest routes to failure is giving a brand a generic name. The problem with a generic brand name is its inability to differentiate itself from the competition.
  • Law of the Company: Brand name is different from the company name. Consumers buy brands, not companies. Short and memorable brand names improve the word-of-mouth possibilities.
  • Law of Subbrands: What branding builds, subbranding destroys. The essence of a brand is some idea or attribute or market segment you can own in the mind. SubBranding takes a brand in exactly the opposite direction.
  • Law of Siblings: There is a time and place to launch a second brand. Make each sibling a unique individual brand with its own identity.
  • Law of Shape: A brand’s logo should be horizontal, readable and designed to fit the eyes.
  • Law of Color: A brand should use a color that is the opposite of its major competitors.
  • Law of Borders: A brand should show no borders. When a brand is in sync with its own country’s perceptions, that brand has the possibility of becoming a global brand.
  • Law of Consistency: A brand is not built overnight. Success is measured in decades, not years. Markets may change, but the essential characteristics of your brand should not.
  • Law of Change: Brands can be changed, but only infrequently and very carefully.
  • Law of Mortality: No brand will last forever.
  • Law of Singularity: The most important aspect of a brand is its singlemindedness.


I read this right after reading The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. There was some overlap between the 2 books, but this was a short read as well and worth the time.

P.S I have moved all my Book Notes to Read My Book Notes.