Interviewer: Good morning David, today we’ll be talking about Brand Extensions. Have you got any tips as to the best approach for extending a brand?
David: Good morning. A very interesting question, and one that faces most brand marketers at some stage or other. I think really any line extension, any move in this direction, must be very, very carefully thought out. If, for example, a brand dominates a category then I would suggest that you’re very, very careful about what you do. If also a brand has a very, very specific image and a very specific place in a given market then I think you should be really quite careful. A good example is perhaps a Lexus car which was launched into a luxury category at a time when the parent company thought that it was stretching really too far to suggest that their current brands entered this completely different market segment. So I think that’s a good illustration of really be very careful and ensure that what you’re doing is totally in line with the brand’s characteristics.
Interviewer: I see. So why do you think a company should consider extending a brand rather than launching a new product?
David: I think really this is a question of economics, in that launching a new brand is not only extremely expensive but it can also be quite risky. So if it’s possible to launch an extension and add value to the existing brand then that should be considered very seriously to avoid the costs and the huge amount of work that is necessary to launch new products in today’s crowded marketplace.
Interviewer: I see. When do you think an extension might not be appropriate?
David: An extension might not be appropriate if it doesn’t add any value to the original brand. If the activity’s likely to cannibalise and make customers’ choices more difficult then I don’t think it’s sensible to consider a brand extension. If, however, the extension can give additional value in another segment or add to the core understanding of the existing brand then I think this could be very, very helpful.
Interviewer: I see. And how can you help a line extension prosper?
David: I think the key issue really is to give it support, to give the line extension the opportunity to prosper in it’s own right and don’t expect that it will merely survive under the umbrella of the existing brand. Give it a life, give it it’s own legs and then give it an opportunity to prosper in the future.
Interviewer: Thank you David.
David: Thank you.