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Do You Know Your Brand Well Enough To Extend It?


Marketing Week has just published an article entitled 'Category Escapology' https://www.marketingweek.com/2018/09/17/category-escapology/?ct_5ba253d7e7f0b=5ba253d7e7fbdthat that focuses on how some well-known brands are ensuring their ongoing health and wellbeing by escaping the boundaries of their traditional market categories. Heineken, while sticking closely to its heritage around beer and refreshment, has launched an alcohol free beer called Heineken 0.0 in order to take on the soft drink market.


When it comes to brand extensions, who hasn't had the experience of seeing a familiar brand suddenly turn up in a different part of the supermarket? The expansion of a highly successful brand like Dove from soap into product categories including skin care and hair care was not only met with customer approval but also caused barely a single raised eyebrow. Dove knew that its core equities or DNA revolved around skin and body care and therefore hair and skin care products were natural cousins to a soap brand that was known for looking after skin.


McDonald's Sweden recently experimented with turning the Happy Meal box into a virtual reality headset for kids http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2017/5/9/trend-brand-centric-extensions-trust. This might not seem like a very natural extension of McDonald's equities around great tasting, good value food, but it becomes more understandable in the context of the brand's DNA related to family and keeping kids happy.


Of course there have been some examples of huge missteps when it comes to brand extensions, a classic example being the Harley Davidson Cake Making Kit http://www.to-market.co.uk/worst-brand-extensions-famous-companies/. Perhaps the inventors of this product could be forgiven for thinking that Harley Davidson fans are so loyal that they will buy anything with the Harley Davidson insignia on it, but it was so far removed from the brand's DNA that it was a complete disconnect.


At COG research we work with clients across diverse categories by using IRT testing to help them understand their core brand DNA so that subsequent brand extensions have a higher degree of success and ability to promote overall brand growth.

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