Thursday, September 24, 2015

Expanding Brand Meaning Through Brand Extension

Sometimes a brand has too narrow a meaning to allow for significant growth. Often this is because it is primarily associated with one product category. In this situation, it is advantageous to expand the brand meaning beyond the core product category by extending it into new categories, uses and need segments. However, to be successful, this usually has to be done in stages. For instance, say you are a brand of oranges. You might be able to immediately extend the brand into orange juice without difficulty. However, you may not yet be able to extend the brand into other fruits or fruit juices or other product formats. So, the first step might be to extend the brand into the orange juice category. The next step might be to begin to brand lemons, limes and other citrus fruits. Once the brand is known in those categories, it might be able to be extended into lemon and lime juices. The next step might be orange, lemon and lime juice snacks. At some point, it might be possible to extend the brand into any food category that primarily has an orange, lemon or lime flavor. And maybe some time well into the future, the brand could be extended into non-food products that have an orange, lemon or lime scent. Any extension needs to be informed by brand extension research. Into what categories do consumers give the brand permission to exist?

The key for any of this is to have a long-term plan of where you want to take the brand but to pursue that plan one step at a time. And each step that you take should be informed by research. Ultimately, you will want to define your brand beyond just one product category. If defined by something broader, especially a customer benefit or a shared value, then the brand has a better chance of thriving well into the future. 

I wish you success in expanding your brand's meaning by extending it into new product and service categories. 

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