THE ORIGIN OF BRANDS: Discover the Natural Laws of Product Innovation & Business Survival

Al Ries, Author, Laura Ries, Author . Harper Business $24.95 (308p) ISBN 978-0-06-057014-9

This father-daughter marketing team, authors of The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing , believes that evolution is a useful analogy for marketers. Throughout the book, readers are encouraged to think of Darwin's tree of life. For example, the television tree used to consist solely of the three networks, but now comprises an array of cable and satellite offerings. The "phone" tree includes cellular, picture, computer, digital and other varieties. Using many examples, the authors explore this notion: "Competition between individuals (brands) improves the species. Competition between species (categories) drives the categories further and further apart." To survive in today's competitive market where technology makes innovations much faster than in the past, companies must continue to introduce new computers, cars, phones, food, etc. However, the drawbacks of expansion and innovation mean that some products and some corporations won't be profitable. Burger King keeps trying to launch new menus, essentially to compete with McDonald's. While McDonald's has had its own fiscal troubles, it continues to dominate the fast food market because it was first and has so many outlets. Along with their entertaining perspective on advertising and marketing, the authors offer specific advice including devising a new category rather than a brand. Innovative marketers will have a triumphant product if they create a category and launch with a clever name as well, such as Starbucks did for the high-end coffee-shop category. While the book is primarily directed at readers working in marketing, advertising and related fields, managers and executives at both large and small businesses will benefit from it as well. Agent, Black Inc. (May)

Forecast: A 25-city national radio campaign, author tour, and lectures along with the paperback release of the authors' bestselling The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR should quickly launch this one onto business lists.

Reviewed on: 05/03/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
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