RAZOR BRANDING BLOG: 9 Signs You've Over Extended Your Brand

9 Signs You've Over Extended Your Brand

When a tv show "Jumps the Shark" you just know it's time is coming to an end. It's a sign that the writers have run out of ideas and now they will just try anything to keep their viewers and attract new ones.  The name comes from the later years of Happy Days when Fonzie actually jumped over a shark while water skiing.

Companies do this sometimes with their products.  Instead of introducing a long lost relative back from the dead with a dark secret, companies introduce products that don't relate to the current lines.  

This over extension of the brand can prevent the new product from taking off and do irreparable damage to the previously established products.  9 biggest brand over extensions are:

Dump Your Demo - Porsche is all about speed and a fast lifestyle.  Think drug dealing burnout William Hurt in The Big Chill.  Station wagon what?!  How do you go from being the car on a poster in a teenage boy's bedroom to being in the garage of a suburban housewife.  What self-respecting man in his mid-life crises can buy a Porsche now?

Diss Your Own Name - The name of the company is Kentucky FRIED Chicken but they are now pushing grilled chicken.  The new tagline is "Taste the UnFRIED taste of KFC." They are selling against their own name.   

Abandon Your Core Competency - Pizza Hut is now pushing pasta.  Are they changing the name to Pasta Hut?  Will they no longer sell pizza?

Lost the Macho that Made You Cool - Harley Davidson, loved by leather wearing lawyers round the world introduced cake decorating kits.  Not really as tough as the brand should be.

Clean it instead of cook it - Heinz, well known for their ketchups, launched a cleaning vinegar. How do you go from food to cleaning supplies?

You Fly and I'll Buy - From a company famous for it's chicken wings and scantilly clad waitresses comes...wait for it...Hooter's Airlines.  Really?  Because a person that can get the wing sauce just right is exactly the same person that I want flying a 747.

Ignore the drinking age - Sony Playstation has carved out a great niche with video games featuring incredible graphics, great story lines and a very loyal following of pre-pubescent boys. Which is exactly why Sony Playstation should have never even admitted out loud that they were thinking about wine glasses and champagne flutes, much less actually put them on the market.

Make Promises For Your Customers - The Virgin Group has done a fantastic job leveraging the brand of Richard Branson through airlines, music mega stores and more.  I would love to have been in the meeting when they decided to open stores in the UK that would sell wedding dresses and call it, Virgin Brides.

Stink up the Smell - People go to coffee shops for great tasting coffee and the warm relaxing smell of home.  So why in the world would cold, stark, fluorescent, smells-like-a-hamburger-and grease decide to launch McDonald's Gourmet Coffee.  That is an oxymoron.   Yikes.

Brand extensions must be carefully considered.  The company has to branch out within the brand for it to be successful now.  Don't fall into any of these traps.  Always remember that if you find your niche it will make you rich.

Jaci Russo
Sr. Partner

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