How far is too far?

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 10, 2012 03:54 hrs

pIt is difficult and expensive to build a brand High media clutter high shelf-clutter and high mind-space clutter coupled with ever shortening attention span by consumers makes for very few successful new brands in the country It can be argued that apart from a very select handful that includes Fastrack Café Coffee Day and Big Bazaar there are no truly successful new brands out there The lure of brand extensions is understandable as it utilises the current equity of a brand and leverages it for brands to foray in other categoriesppBrand extensions fail sometimes disastrously Nirma a brand synonymous with detergent powder every time we hear Nirma the next line &ldquowashing powder Nirma&rdquo follows tunefully in our minds launched Nirma Shudh Salt Does that mean Titan &mdash known for watches &ndash should not enter eyewearppTitan Eye is after all struggling to be profitable Or that Wipro should be only &lsquoapplying thought&rsquo to their IT business and not to diapers and soaps Ponds stretched the brand from its iconic Dreamflower Talc to the new age Age MiraclePerfect Radiance range The brand has not as much as stretched but has snapped into two &ndash the two Ponds stand for different thingsppSo what are the principles of successful brand architecture The answer lies at the core of the brand Tata for decades has stood for trust Since that is at the core the brand extends anywhere where trust is important Trust however is basic It works for generic products such as salt but does not work where the consumer seeks more than trust Tanishq stands for design but the Tata Gold Plus brand stands for trust As for Rolls Royce it is the ultimate super luxury car Does that equity help in the space of aircraft engines If Rolls Royce had stood for technology or innovation it could traverse the course to not just aircraft engines but perhaps any high-end equipment but luxury makes the stretch not so successfulppThe closer the new product connects with the existing core value proposition of the brand the more likely it will be able to diversify For instance Kingfisher its current troubles notwithstanding as the King of Good Times can expand into different categories such as liquor airline calendars and Formula 1 as against Jet Airways that only stands for a &lsquoworld-class flying experience&rsquo and can only extend into air-related businessesppOver-extending the brand or using it indiscriminately is potentially prone to failure Take Lifebuoy&rsquos first attempt at launching a talcum power under the same brand The product was positioned on the family health platform in clear dissonance with the core proposition of the talcum powder category &mdash beauty The variant was discontinued and re-launched as prickly heat powder which supposedly resonates better with the core values of the Lifebuoy Even where the brand name seamlessly extends across categories it is important to not fall into a &lsquoclick and extend&rsquo trap such as the one Himalaya has fallen into Himalaya sells a range of herbalayurveda product across hair skin and oral care under one umbrella brand While it is a great brand extension strategy there was needed a visual demarcation as the sea of sameness makes it difficult for the consumer to navigate across a shop shelf and new variants invariably vanish without a trace In such cases design solutions are required to maximise opportunity for the brandhr pp alignrightstrongAlpana Paridastrongem president and  emstrongPriyanka Shahstrongem GM strategy DY Works look at some successful and some not-so-successful extensions and draw some key lessons emp

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