Bugaboo’s big, bold brand stretch: the Boxer luggage system

Post by Anne Charbonneau, brandgym Managing Partner based in Amsterdam,

I was lucky enough to recently attend the exciting launch of bugaboo’s new product range: “a revolutionary luggage system” called Bugaboo Boxer (see on the right below) This is a big stretch for a brand famous for reinventing the baby stroller category 15 years ago (see left on the image below).

Below I highlight some of the interesting learning from this brand stretch initiative.

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1. Stretch your core competences

At first sight, this looks like a huge and risky stretch for Bugaboo on two dimensions (see below). The brand is moving into a different functional category: luggage vs. baby strollers. And the new category also has a different target, travellers including business people.

However, look closer and the brand is leveraging a range of core competences central to the success in strollers: engineering, expertise in building torture-proof chassis, joints, wheels and modular systems. As the brand says here, “We’ve tapped into over 20 years of mobility expertise to design a luggage system that’s going to change the way people move again.”

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And what a system it is! There is a central chassis (with fold away wheels and handle), a larger travel case and a smaller cabin case, all working seamlessly together. The larger and smaller case can be used together, or separately.

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There are also marketing competences that can be leveraged, as a Bugaboo team member told me at the launch, including a top-notch word-of-mouth strategy and product seeding with cool celebrities (remember Miranda in Sex and the City pushing a Bugaboo stroller?)


2. Stretch your brand muscles

Bugaboo’s vision has always been about freedom of movement for all, not just for parents and their babies. Critics could say that Bugaboo Boxer sounds like a brand ‘laddering up too high’, past attributes and benefits to brand values. But in fact, freedom of movement is talked about by mums and dads bugaboo’s customer diaries and during immersive research. What’s nice with the new stretch is that it now truly and dramatically brings this vision to life. And by stretching, the brand’s muscles should become more supple, enabling further stretch.

3. Stretch to create the unexpected: “wow” factor

By stretching the brand’s role in the mobility space, Bugaboo is creating a surprise effect in a category that probably didn’t expect such a brand to shake things up. This unexpectedness, in terms of both the stretch itself and the product design and features, creates a “wow” factor that I saw first hand this week (below). And this in turn makes the Bugaboo Boxer a product worth talking about in social media and by word-of-mouth. The brand will have to spend less on buying advertising as the product speaks for itself.

How does this thing work?

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Wow, that’s cool!

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4. Stretch your target group

An obvious but important benefit of Boxer is allowing the brand to stretch its available audience, beyond the current market that is limited by the number of births in a given. The potential target has no demographics limits.

In conclusion, the Bugaboo Boxer shows how you can leverage your brand and business strengths to enter a new market. I’m curious to see who will be pushing a Boxer at the airport next time I fly 😉

[Note from David T.: me, me, me! Where can I buy one….]
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