Can Brand Extensions Weaken A Brand?
We regularly answer marketing questions of all types here on Branding Strategy Insider. Today, Shashwat, a senior marketer in Chennai, India asks this question on brand extensions…
“I am working for a soap manufacturer based in India. As you may know, the market here is dominated by HUL (Hindustan Unilever Limited) and its many brands. Our company is looking to enter new personal care categories (shampoo etc.) with the same brand name.
My question relates specifically to brand extensions, do you think that an extension like this, even if it is into a related category will weaken the brand? I can think only of Dove as a brand here in India which has successfully introduced other personal care products.”
Thanks for your question Shashwat. With brand extensions, one must first understand what brand associations are most closely tied to the brand in question. Any brand extension into a new product category must reinforce one of those primary associations without creating new negative, conflicting or confusing associations for the brand. If this rule is followed, the brand extension will actually reinforce what the brand stands for. If this rule is not followed, the brand extension could be confusing or negative for the brand as seen many times with brand extensions like these: Frito-Lay Lemonade, BIC Perfume and Pantyhose, LifeSavers Soda, Colgate Kitchen Entrees, Cosmopolitan (Magazine) Yogurt, Ben-Gay Aspirin, Cheetos-flavored Lip Balm, and Lamborghini Notebook Computers to name a few. In your pursuit of a successful brand extension — remember — associations for the brand and for its entrance into the new product category should be tested via marketing research before the extension is pursued.
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