The thought of expanding your product offerings with either a new line of products or maybe even the introduction of a new product category can be scary and exciting at the same time. As with any business, continued growth is usually seen as a sure sign of increased profits. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. When it comes to brand extensions, careful consideration, strategic planning, and market research would be a worthwhile venture to increase the possibility of a successful result. There have been many failed brand extensions however, there is always something valuable to learn from past mistakes. Below are a few examples and lessons that marketers should take note of.
Ensure your brand is successfully established first
One major challenge with brand extensions is trying to extend your brand to new products without fully establishing your brand first. For your brand extension to be successful, you want to make sure that you have substantial brand equity and brand awareness already. You want your brand to already have a level of credibility, perceived quality, and value so that when you extend your brand to a new product, those same positive associations can be made to your new products.
Understand the needs and wants of your customer base
Just because your current customer base likes your brand doesn’t mean they will automatically support all of your products. It’s important to understand how your customers view your brand as well as the value they receive from it. For example, with Cosmopolitan Magazine, they inaccurately assumed that their loyal customers would also love their yogurts, however, this brand extension definitely fell short. While their target audience for their magazine and yogurt line may have shared the same characteristics if your products don’t seem aligned with the brand or seem too far from your level of expertise it has the potential to negatively impact your brand image.
Focus on providing meaningful value
Be careful not to get carried away with what sounds like a great idea. You want your brand extensions to make sense to the core meaning of your brand while also maintaining a significant level of value to your customers. Once you divert too far from offering meaning value, you run the risk of diluting your brand and confusing your customers which can harm your future sales.
So the next time you consider a brand extension, keep these brand failures in mind. Take your time, be strategic and intentional, and make sure you have a good sense of what your customers want and need. Ultimately, your customers are your biggest asset so your end goal will always be to continue providing value to your customers so that they don’t find reasons to doubt your credibility or the quality you offer. Once you have a recognizable and valued brand, your customers have developed a sense of trust and expectations that you now challenged to maintain. If you’re able to earn and keep their trust you’ll be well on your way to increasing your number of brand loyal customers!