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.