Thursday, October 05, 2006

Brand Extending

Most of us have read Trout and Ries' books on Positioning and many of their teachings have become 'law' in broadcast programming. One area they nearly always took a stand on was Extending the Brand. They cited many products in the 60s-80s that took big hits trying to extend their brands - Coke trying New Coke and many others. Their feeling was that the extensions distracted from the core brand and just took sales and resources away.

Well now we live in a different world that has changed the strategy and tactics here. It's a marketing and product development world that is moving away from Mass Production to specialized products that almost seem to be 'made for me.'

Take a look at Tide Detergent, which now has 11 different products for washing clothes and they offer many of these products in 14 different scents. Look at the list of products and scents

Tide Liquid
Tide Powder
Tide Simple Pleasures
Tide with Fabreze
Tide Coldwater
Tide with Downey
Tide with Bleach
Tide with Bleach Alt.
Tide HE
Tide To Go

And the scents
Original, Clean Breeze, Mountain Spring, Free, Spring Renewal, Meadows and Rain, Cirtus and Light, Fresh Scent, Glacier, April Fresh, Ocean Mist, Vanilla and Lavender, Water Lily and Jasmine and Rose and Voilet.

Who knows how many different products you have her? It could be hundreds, a whole isle full of just Tide at the grocery store. Did they not read Trout and Ries? I bet they did, but they also took a look at having Tide niched down by all kinds of competitors from the OXY guy on TV to the other brands like Cheer and decided on a different strategy.

We are facing a similiar dilema with extending our radio station brands to HD, Web casts, cell phone link ups and other new media. Even though Trout and Ries warned countless times in their books that brand extending is bad, the world has changed and the consumer has changed. Just like Tide you can see successful brands like Z100 in New York insuring their leadership in pop radio for the market with HD Channels that extend the brand, Cell Phone delivery, p0dcasts, a web stite that streams and is packed with music entertainment alternatives. They have shown that they will go boldy into the future and extend their brand. Quit trying to hide in a cave here - reach out and extend yourself.

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