Traditional marketers might feel this book verges on blasphemy. The Rieses purport that the convergence of companies and products doesn't strengthen them, but to the contrary, defies the natural laws of product innovation and business survival.
Brands is full of timely and historic examples of companies that have lived or died based on their choices to diverge or converge.
The Rieses debunk old standards and offer a new paradigm to consider creation of brands.
For instance, they write that sales don't matter nearly as much as perception or that a big ad budget shouldn't be used to launch a product. "You can kill a plant with too much water and too much fertilizer. You can kill a brand the same way."
While you could nit-pick, this book is still a brilliant application of Darwin's original idea that challenges convention and provokes opportunistic thought. Written for entrepreneurs, CEOs, and big thinkers who provide vision and leadership, it's just as useful for middle managers to understand positioning a product in consumers' minds.
Title The Origin of Brands
Authors Al & Laura Ries
Publisher HarperBusiness (May 2004), 295 pages
Reviewed by Mark Hazlin