Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Does your brand have stretch marks?

You see it every day. Another company risks its perceived value, its customer and channel relationships to extend the brand. The goal may be to crowd out a competitor. To capture fringe prospects. To gain a few more shelf slots.

Extensions can work when it makes sense. Pirates of the Caribbean® was originally a Disneyland® attraction. It grew into an Oscar®-winning movie, a fast food tie-in and a splashy video game.

But the brand extension dangers can be greater than possible gains. As you read this, hundreds of “low carb” food products are biting the dust as fast as the diet craze itself.

A few years ago Green Giant® thought their brand could be a garden fresh store chain. Wrong.
Bic® Pens thought they could be perfume. Wrong.
AOL thought their brand would fit over Time Warner®. Wrong.
Donald Trump was sure his brand would make his casinos sure winners (you’re fired).

When is a Honda® More than a Honda?
When Honda decided they wanted to compete in the luxury imported car market, they didn’t risk losing their Accord customers. Or confusing their Civic fans. They created a whole new brand with its own dealers: Acura.

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