Extending Your Brand
A recent survey offers some insights into the best-and worst-ways of extending your brand.
By Robert Sprung
Robert C. Sprung
Brand extensions are everywhere these days, from Jeep stroller to, quite literally, the kitchen sink from Jacuzzi. Some of the topics covered in our recent survey on top brand extensions published in collaboration with Brandweek magazine may not, at first, seem of direct relevance to those in pharmaceutical packaging. However, there are key trends spotted that affect all of us. Further, the whole concept of brand extension is identifying what your brand embodies or represents. If you make a sleep medication, your brand may stand for relaxation, or more quality awake time with your family.
Survey respondents voted on winning brand extensions. For results, please see the table below.
The following paragraphs describe a few of the key trends observed in the survey and are discussed more fully in the report.
Virgin Territory. The big winner in the survey was Iams pet insurance. This shows that there are still unbranded categories like pet health insurance, where no major brands exist. Strong brands with household names can achieve great results if they look at tangential businesses where they are still relevant. In this case, people trust Iams to take care of their pets’ nutrition, so it makes sense that the brand can be trusted to look after their pets’ general health as well.
Our survey revealed the best and worst in brand extensions.
(click image to enlarge)
Overnight Wonders. The other big winner was Febreze, an air freshener that extended into the innovative Scentstories system. Although Febreze hasn’t existed for very long, its manufacturer has been able to extend the brand into this category in a remarkably short time. The amount of time needed to gain credibility from the public and then extend seems to be shorter than ever for innovative brands that consumers connect with.
Riding Big Brands’ Coattails. The big brands were generally big winners in the survey: Google, Apple, Oprah. The halo effect of these brands also brought along some older brands on their coattails, in some cases injecting them with new vigor (National Geographic on Google Earth, for example). Old media seems to be far from dead—Oprah’s hardcover book collection, on the strength of the Oprah brand, handily defeated the new-media upstarts in the Web, satellite radio, software, and video-game spheres.
Grassroots Appeal. Meanwhile, among the blossoming of brand extensions in the furniture market, the grassroots Antiques Roadshow easily beat out more-highbrow offerings from Frank Gehry and Nicole Miller, or more-hip offerings like MTV Cribs.
Profiting as a Not-for-Profit. This category shows the growing role that brand extension can play in the not-for-profit and governmental sectors. As nonprofits see greater permission to extend their brands, possible extensions like a Red Cross first-aid kit seem increasingly logical and natural. National Geographic’s win partly shows the halo effect of Google and highlights a particularly outstanding product.
Full copies of the report are available by sending an e-mail request to the author.