The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding

March 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding, by Al Ries and Laura Ries was written in 2000, and SO much has happened in the practice of online business branding since then, yet many of their laws are still relevant and helpful to growing your business online.

Many of the examples in their book are of larger companies, but many of the “laws” will apply to your business, too. Here’s a short recap of the 11 laws:

1. The Law of Either/Or
The Internet should be viewed as an entirely new business, starting from scratch, not just a new medium through which an existing business will be communicating it message.

2. The Law of Interactivity
This law contends that a website must be interactive and engaging for the best chance of success.

3. The Law of the Common Name
Common names such as or make poor brands.

4. The Law of the Proper Name
The corollary of Law 3 says that proper names are preferred over generic names. Ries and Ries suggest that the best names will follow most of these eight principles: 1.) short, 2.) simple, 3.) suggestive of the category, 4.) unique, 5.) alliterative, 6.) speakable, 7.) shocking, and 8.) personalized.

5. The Law of Singularity
This law affirms that, whereas in the bricks-and-mortar world, there is room for a number two brand, on the Internet there is room for only one. Smaller businesses must be niche players and aspire to be number one in their chosen niche.

6. The Law of Advertising
Offline advertising will be a lot bigger than advertising on the Net. Hmmm. This is one law that, while still true today, may not be for long.

7. The Law of Globalism
Al and Laura claim that the Internet will demolish all barriers, all boundaries, and all borders. Their view was prescient, as this has indeed happened. All web-based businesses are global businesses.

8. The Law of Time
The brand that is first into the prospect’s mind—not necessarily the first into the marketplace—has the advantage.

9. The Law of Vanity
Simply put, you shouldn’t try to include more and more categories under a single brand. Stay focused keep the original brand and instead, launch a new brand.

10. The Law of Divergence
This law is counterintuitive, and you’ll tend to disagree with it as you think of convergence products, but the point is that online brands built on “you can get it all done here at this single site,” are going against the laws of branding.

11. The Law of Transformation
The Internet will—and indeed has—transformed all aspects of our lives. Price ( and customer service ( are examples of online businesses using tenants of brick-and-mortar businesses to differentiate and build buzz.



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