Right now, brand extension is important for companies that want to be innovative and ahead of the game in regards to business trends. This is currently an emerging trend that has great potential simply because the focus is on both the business and the consumer. The business side is concerned about establishing itself as a trustworthy brand, while the other side is giving the consumer what they want; providing for a market segment that is being overlooked. Extending within a brand is an established practice, but what is currently trending is companies expanding into nontraditional areas that the business may not already be known for.
Looking at the business side of this trend, there are four reasons why brand extension is beneficial. It can:
- Show the consumer the brand’s multiple capabilities
- Open the door for possible rebranding
- Create an entire lifestyle
- Instill trust into the customer
Brand extension expands the brand’s horizons in what they are capable of in the mind of the consumer. When a brand extends into something new and succeeds, it shows the customer that they are not good in only one product or service, but in many. Amazon has really been a leader in this trend. They started as an online only bookstore, and now a customer can buy anything they want online, get it delivered that same day, pick it up that same day at a specific pick-up point, and even visit a physical, brick and mortar location to shop. In addition to all of this, Amazon also creates its own products, most notably the Kindle E-Reader. Ha
ving various different product and services under the same brand name creates brand equity and spreads the name wider and faster.
Rebranding is important for brands that may have gone out of style or were out beat by technology, and extending the brand into a new area can accomplish a brand revamp. A good example of a brand that used extension in order to rebrand themselves is Skechers. Originally, Skechers were heavy, bulky shoes that people bought for walking. Then, they went out of style because everyone wanted lighter shoes, and now they are in the process of extending their brand into activewear. They are offering lightweight shoes along with clothing that fits with the current trend of athleisure. The idea is to provide clothing that can be worn to the gym or for a casual outing with friends. The extension into this area is an effort to rebrand and become relevant again.
P&G is a perfect example of a company that used brand extension in order to create an entire lifestyle. The lifestyle they created can be described in one word: clean. Their products range anywhere from toothpaste to laundry detergent to deodorant to diapers, and everything in between. Since they have created this lifestyle successfully, any product that they release will be seen as reliable in the area of cleanliness. If it’s by P&G, consumers will be more inclined to purchase because they know their reputation.
All of the above factors are how brand extension creates trust in the consumer. If the customer can see that a brand has many different strong suits, is able rebrand themselves and become successful again, or can dominate an entire lifestyle sector, the recognize that they are doing something right and will be more inclined to purchase.
How is this positive for the consumer?
Brands are extending into sectors that would be considered nontraditional to their company in order to provide for a segment of the market that is being overlooked. For example, Chrysler, the car manufacturer, is offering its own radio station in Colombia. Car registration is on the rise in the country, raising 11.3% in the past year, and people are in need of radio stations to listen to. Other brands that are capitalizing on an untapped market are Uber and other ride-sharing companies. Now, they are offering kid-friendly rides for parents who may not always have the time to pick their children up from school or events.
According to Lifestyles of Young Families, 39% of parents say they can not be there for their kids the way they would like to be, which presents a large market opportunity. By taking advantage of these niche markets, and being the first to do so, brands are providing consumers with products and services they want (according to surveys), with only one brand to choose from.