If stretched too far…

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Your company has a range of products that’s doing well under a particular brand name. Sales are pumping. Production barely meets demand. Reps are excited. They’re moving product. And making money! Why not add another product using the same brand name? We know the market. We’ll use the same distribution channel. Yes we know it may be different from the others; but it’s just one more item on our price list. It’s different, but we can sell it. Right?

Well… let’s see.

Brands are designed to enable customers to identify product or services that promise specific benefits. As such, they are a form of shorthand in that they create a set of expectations in the minds of customers about purpose, performance, quality and price.

Twice this week I saw a boxy, nondescript little motor car that reminded me of a low-end Honda. Turns out it was a little Mercedes Benz. Probably made for them by Chrysler during that ill-fated alliance. Ouch!!! Shall I still ask the car fairy for a shiny new E300 MB???

When a brand is well established marketers must always remember its footprint. Jamaicans buy Grace ketchup. But you wouldn’t buy a Grace cigarette, would you? Would you buy bottled water from Heineken? And how about Harpic toothpaste?

Extreme examples? Sure. But beware brand stretching, my marketing friends. For your brand’s footprint may well be your best friend.

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