Sunday, October 7, 2007

Extending Brand Equity

Extending Brand Equity
by John Maver
Maver Management Group

As the old wise marketing guru said “Branding is the Essence of Successful Marketing”. Brand equity is a precious gem. While not particularly rare it can be very valuable. So how do you tap into this treasure? Here is how to make this article really pay off in gold for you. Take a piece of paper and write down your brand name(s) on it at the top. As you read this article think about the principles and see how you might apply them to your brand. Don’t look for the perfect match, just try it out. Put a checkmark on the ones that apply to you.

This is not a football story despite the headings even though the season is in full swing. It really is about pragmatic and effective ways of extending your brand equity. In some ways all products have a brand equity. The key is to identify it and then fan the flames so it ignites into a very profitable fire of profitability. It can bring with it very loyal customers who are willing to pay a premium to purchase your product. Once you have it you will want to use it to your maximum advantage and I’ll discuss several ways of doing this

Line Extensions, Flankers, End Arounds and Umbrellas
Extended use
This is the most obvious. You keep the same product name and form but use the product in a different usage area. The best example is Cow Brand Baking Soda. It is used in baking. Every new housewife gets a box as part of her bridal package and that box stayed with her until she died. Cow started promoting the product as a deodorizer in the refrigerator. Open a box and change it every 6 months. Sales skyrocketed and the brand stayed alive. Now it is used in toothpaste and many other areas as well.

Line Extensions
A line extension is defined as a product in the same basic category with the same basic end use as the parent brand. It may be in a different form than the parent. This is different than an extended use. Tide Powder laundry detergent and Tide Liquid are great examples. Procter & Gamble eventually converted all their effort from trying to establish a new brand, Era, to compete with Wisk, to making Tide Liquid a success. It has paid off and the company has a dominant market share of over 60%.

A flanker is a new brand, which uses an existing brand name to introduce into a different category than the parent brand. Examples are Clorox liquid bleach, Clorox Clean up, Clorox toilet bowl cleaner and others.

Crest dentifrice is a good example of all of these. Did you know that there are 21 forms of Crest toothpaste? They cover extended use (breath freshening, gum health and whiteness) and line extensions Kids toothpaste and sensitive teeth in paste, gel and even drops at one point. They get you from your first tooth to your last. Customer loyalty remember? It is even better if the flanker can be used as part of a system with the parent brand. Crest Toothbrushes – Crest Complete and Crest SpinBrush go with Crest toothpaste.

This is where you use a common overall name for different product with different uses.

Symantec changed Norton Antivirus into the Symantec suite or family of brands. It fits well with both the consumer and the institutional or business to business market. It is all about security.

The Ultimate umbrella This where you establish your brand well enough that it becomes synonymous with the generic. Here are a couple of examples.

Name a fast food restaurant - McDonald’s right? You will also note the branding and while hokey still serves to reinforce. McFries, McShakes

Name a facial tissue, - Kleenex started as a facial cream remover in the 1920’s. Most people no longer refer to tissues as tissues they are commonly known as Kleenexes.

Name a place to go and have coffee -Starbucks. Peets and Seattle’s Best are trying to overcome this huge hurdle. And Starbucks is now sending out many, many flankers.

The Sleeper, End around or the Borrowed Equity.
This is where you take a known brand equity and use it to support your brand because in doing so it increases the value of your brand. The lending brand is willing to do it because it increases the value of their brand too.

Dell computers - Intel inside. Intel is a master at it. It has taken a computer component and made it a mainstay. People consistently pay more for products with Intel Inside. And now Microsoft is doing it too. They are lending their “platform” and name to others for a fee.

In consumer products, Lays potato chips has borrowed the KC Masterpiece branding. It sets them apart from just BBQ chips. And for KC Masterpiece, it is free advertising, bulk product sales and a licensing fee.

Restaurants do it all the time. The bottle of Heinz catsup is the most obvious. Outback Steakhouse claims to use Hershey’s chocolate. Do you think this dessert is any chocolatier or better in some way because of Hershey’s? Of course you do and not only does it improve the quality image of Outback it also allows them to sell the dessert for more.

The low carb craze continues in the US and Atkins leads the way. It is more than just a diet. It is a way of life and Atkins is selling a lot of flankers. And others are jumping on the Atkins bandwagon. Applebee’s has Atkins entrees

Trades with a Draft Choice
Here are some others. You all know the power of Mr. Clean. One of the all time great advertising personalities. Econo Lodge has traded for Mr. Clean and is transferring his branding and using it as the standard of clean for their motels.

I have some personal experience with this. Clorox to brand the bathroom. In highway rest stops, people and women in particular want to stop at a place that is clean. Clorox is synonymous with germ free and so we branded the bathroom. Turns out we were able to increase sales at the rest stop by 23%. Clorox decided to go in another direction and Mr. Clean followed through.

There are many examples of extending brand equity. What ideas did you write down that you can you use right now to build your brand and increase your equity? Want some help? Contact me. I can help you extend your brand’s equity to accelerate your business growth and jump start the effects.

John Maver is President of the Maver Management Group. They provide business acceleration consulting to companies that enables the companies to jump start not only their planning but the results. Their success has eased the pressures on the executive team, helped them make their numbers and allowed them more time for thinking and less putting out fires and just plain doing.

John can be reached at:
(925) 648-7561

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