Monday, September 21, 2015

The Most Common Problems with Brand Extensions

Some of the most common problems associated with brand extension are:

  • Extending into a category in which the brand adds nothing but its identity (i.e., its products or services are not significantly different from current products or services in the category)
  • Extending through opportunistic brand licensing without regard to its possible impact on the brand
  • Extending into lower (and, sometimes higher) quality segments
  • Not fully understanding brand benefit ownership, transfer, or importance

Unsuccessful brand extension examples: 

  • Bic perfume: How do you leverage the “small disposable pocket items” association?
  • Levi’s tailored classic suits: What is Levi’s primary association? (casual clothes)
  • Campbell spaghetti sauce: Why didn’t “tomato sauce” transfer from Campbell’s soups to spaghetti sauce?
  • McDonald’s Arch Deluxe burger (for adults): What is McDonald’s primary association? (fast-food for kids)
  • Bayer Aspirin-free: What is Bayer’s primary association? (aspirin)
  • Volvo 850 GLT sports sedan: What is Volvo’s primary association? (safety) What is a Volvo’s primary proof point? (boxy armored-car styling)
  • Colgate kitchen entrees: What were they thinking?
  • Or, my all-time favorite, New Coke: What is Coke? (“It’s the real thing”—with a long-time secret formula.)

Excerpted from Brand Aid, second edition, available here.

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