Brand Stretch – Tom the Marketoonist hits the nail on the head , again

Guest post from David Nichols, brandgym's head of invention.

Here is another brilliant cartoon from our friend and marketoonist Tom Fishburne, this time on Brand Stretch. 

Funny, eh.

But you would be amazed by how many real life examples there are that are just as crazy. We call it "Brand Ego Tripping". Remember Cosmopolitan Yoghurts, Levi’s Suits or even Bic Perfume?

To avoid heading off on your own brand ego trip, it helps to look not only at the branding issues, but also at the business model.

1. Can we make money?

Does the "size of the prize" justify the resources and investment you need to put behind a new launch? And that means profit, not just sales.

And can you win vs. aggressive competitors who will be defending their turf?

These are tough but necessary questions to address before you even start thinking about your brand ambitions. When entering mobile phones, Apple were clear that there was a real business opportunity at the top end smartphone sector. They also knew they had a hardcore fanbase who would support them at the start. They now make more money from phones than computers.

2. Can we add value for consumers?

Just doing a me-too product with a new brand will not win over consumers. You have to add real value vs. competitors in a relevant way and it has to come naturally from your brand. Dove brought their ‘quarter moisturising’ benefit from soap bars in to shower gels, shampoo and deo. It was different and relevant for people and came directly for their well established brand equity.

3. Do we have credibility?

Will consumers even bother to try your new product? If you lack credibility in consumer’s eyes in the new category then it’s going to be an expensive, uphill struggle to get trial. When Special K launched into cereal bars their core consumers had no qualms trying the new product. Special K bars are now a significant new business.

In summary, to avoid your own costly brand ego trip, ask not "can our brand stretch". And instead ask "can we make any money".