The 11 immutable laws of Internet branding // Al and Laura Ries

The book, written in the year of 2000, is divided into 11 chapters, each one presenting one immutable law of Internet branding.


The Law of Either/Or

“How can you tell whether the Internet is a business or a medium for your brand?

Is the brand tangible or intangible?
For tangible products, the Internet tends to be a medium. For intangible products (banking, insurance, travelling or stock brokerage), a business.

Is the brand Fashionable or not?
For fashionable products the internet tens to be a medium, while for the rest works more as a business.

Is the product available in thousands of variations?
If so, the internet tends to be a business.

Is low price a significant factor in the brand’s purchase?
If so, it tends to be a business. The ability of the buyer to check prices on a large number of sites is making the Internet a very price-sensitive medium.

Are shipping costs a significant factor as compared to the purchase price?
If so, it tends to be a medium.

The Law of Interactivity

The new medium is layered on top of the old media, forever changing and modifying all of the existing media.

Mass – Communications:
Human voice→ Book(multiplied the reach)→ Periodicals(news)→ Radio (added the attribute of the human voice)→ Television (added the attribute of motion)→ And the internet?

The internet is the only mass communication medium that allows interactivity.

The secret to branding on the internet is your ability to present your brand in such a way that costumes and prospects can interact with your message.

With the internet, your prospects have total control of what they see, read and hear. Is there any reason to doubt that they won’t turn off your advertising message as soon as it starts?

Interactivity is the ability to type in your instructions and have the site deliver the information you requested in the form you requested it.

The Law of the Common Name

The kiss of death for an Internet brand is the common name.
Positioning: The Battle for your Mind, published in 1980.

The Law of the Proper Name

Your name stands alone on the internet and it’s by far your most powerful asset.

8 Guidelines for effective Website names.

The Law of Advertising

For the first time, the user is in charge, not the owner of the medium. The user can decide where to go, what to look at and what to read.

The Law of Globalism

The internet will demolish all barriers, all boundaries, all borders.

“The medium is the message” is the famous dictum of Marshall McLuhan. If you define “message” simply as “content” or “information”, McLuhan pointed out, you miss one of the most important features of any medium: its power to change the course and functioning of human relations and activities.

What is the “message” of the internet medium? We believe the message is “globalism”.

One real barrier to globalism is red tape – taxes, duties, customs forms and paperwork in general.
Another barrier to globalism is language. The first decision a global brand builder must make is the language question. Do you use English, or do you translate your site into different languages? Do you set up totally different sites in different countries?

The Law of Time

Just do it. You have to be fast. You have to be first. You have to be focused.

The Law of Vanity

The biggest mistake of all is believing you can do anything.

As soon as a company is successful in one area, it tries to move into another. Usually with little or no success. The most difficult problem in a business is trying to change a perception that exists in the mind of a customer or prospect. Once the perception is strongly held in the mind, it can almost never be changed.

This post is part of my MA major project bibliography.

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