The three basic keys to extending a brand from one product to something new.
1. It isn’t a brand extension unless it’s a new product.
This sounds obvious, but it’s something even high level executives get wrong.You can’t just change the product name and/or packaging and call it a brand extension.
2. The brand name should be famous (or almost famous).
It’s a bit like cheating! But you can’t launch a successful brand extension unless people already know your brand’s name. Everyone knows Arm & Hammer, but the start-up fashion label with modest sales? It probably doesn’t have enough recognition to extend.
3. The brand needs leverage in the new category:
There needs to be an “extendable equity.” That’s a fancy word for an unfair advantage that no other brand has and that consumers want. It can be a benefit, an ingredient, a lifestyle … something that is concrete or easily communicated that you extend to the new category. Without this leverage, a brand extension will bomb. You can probably guess, for example, the extendable equity of Snickers: a familiar taste people love. This taste profile was transferred to another form with the launch of Snickers ice cream bars, a new product that appeals to both ice cream lovers and Snickers candy bar fans. It’s a very clear and compelling new product offering that you can find on the shelf today.