This week’s #SundayMusings takes us back to our branding roots and focuses in on brand extensions! Occasionally you see some off the wall ideas launched under a brand umbrella and it makes you hide in fear. Other times, it is a stroke of genius. Is there a real science here or is it just luck? Take a look at some of these brand extension stories from the past few weeks and maybe they will help you decide.
#1 – “Instant.ly Says It Can Tell Brands Which New Products People Will Actually Buy” – via AdWeek.com
Premise: Instant.ly has launched a metric called “Shelf Score Index” which measures purchase intent through their platform, which also takes into account “category disruption from small or unknown brands”. CPG brands are always looking to better understand purchase intent, particularly with brand extensions and new SKU’s. This new method of testing is faster and less expensive according to Instant.ly. The metric will be released on a monthly basis.
Thoughts: Brand extensions can be a very scary proposition. The ability to quickly understand the size of prize and opportunity of an extension is a powerful metric, as it can tell you to pull back on the marketing and push for a new product based on its likelihood to fall flat with consumers, or conversely, to push the product/SKU further given its appeal.
Interesting infographic at the bottom of this write-up that has been created for the top ten scoring product innovations in July within the food/CPG space, with snacks and cereals dominating the list.
#2 – “Reebok Gets Into the Bacon Business, Catering to CrossFitters’ Sizzling Indulgence” via AdFreak.com
Premise: The CrossFit Games took place this past week. Helping with the celebration was Reebok, who decided to release a new product … bacon. CrossFitters are known to follow a Paleo diet. In an effort to stretch the Reebok name – a sponsor of the CrossFit Games – the brand sent its bacon packages to the athletes participating in the event, as well as others in the community. It will also have a food truck at the event serving, of course, its bacon.
Thoughts: This brand extension had me at … bacon. This is about as wide of a brand stretch or extension that I can remember and you know what, it seems to work/make some sense. They have tied the promotional efforts together nicely between the CrossFit Games and the typical dieting efforts. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how big the buzz gets for the brand. Moving forward, they could really take advantage of the different events that lead up to the Games themselves, promoting at both the Open in February and Regional events in May.
This also reminded me of the Scope Bacon mouthwash YouTube clip that the brand put together last April Fools’ Day.
#3 – “Brand innovation is like a trip to the dentist” via BrandAide.com
Premise: The folks at BrandAide have a book coming out and this article includes excerpts from that publication with a Q&A with Kyle Hermans. The Q&A/discussion centers on brand innovation, what it really means to Hermans, the fear that innovation creates, etc.
Thoughts: I thought this was an excellent interview that gets behind the mindset of brand/product innovation and how it can be a painstaking process that either has great reward or failure. This happens across industry time and time again.
Two particular discussion points really caught my attention. First, the example of Kodak and its complete and utter failure to recognize the growing trend of digital photography. By the time they tried to adapt, it was far too late and they are essentially a dead brand at this time. The second part that caught my attention is at the very end of the article and the discussion on innovation working for younger brands, given the power of the internet and digital marketing. It doesn’t always come down to the size of your marketing budget these days. Good communication and a strong business model can help virtually anyone attain success.
#4 – “Foursquare: Why Making Things Complicated?” via Andy Joohyun Lee on LinkedIn
Premise: Foursquare won the location-based services game years ago with badges and the power of data/information for discovery. With the move to break its business into two distinct brands/apps, there has been a mountain of negative press, including this write-up on LinkedIn from Andy Joohyun Lee.
Thoughts: We talked about this a bit in our last Sunday Musings as well. While this feels a little “birds in a feather…” I continue to see write-ups on the negative side of Foursquare’s decision to split its business in half between what is now Foursquare and Swarm. I am clearly not the only person that doesn’t enjoy having to use two apps. While I typically try to avoid the negativity seen in comments sections, take a look through the comments on this write-up. They are overwhelmingly negative to the split.
I’m interested to see how Foursquare responds to this by the fall. I’m more interested in their reaction to the negative feedback then the new logo and app updates they pushed out in July.
Tweet of the Week:
— Kamal Faridi (@kamaluf) July 25, 2014
I would have never, ever guessed that Toby Keith would be the #1 celebrity entrepreneur and brand builder. Keith has extended his own brand name into his bar & grill – which now includes his own house drink (Wild Shot Mezcal) – and a clothing line. Forbes has selected Keith for their cover based on his ability to take his brand name, extend it into various product lines (that largely work together) and create a whale of success.
Below you will find a Slideshare that I found to be of interest for anyone that is interested in reading more on the basics of brand extensions, brand building and innovation.
Thanks for swinging by this week’s #SundayMusings! What do you think of brand extensions and how they alter a brand’s image? Let us know in the Comments section below. Have a great week!