This is the fourth and final article in the Building and Maintaining your Brand Series. Find out my final thoughts and tips on the long term branding strategy and a summary of everything I talked about.
So you own a brand that is well known and appreciated within your target market. You secure its position continuously by investing in clever advertising that keeps your product in your consumers' minds. My guess is you want to make the most of this potential and grow your brand. You need to be careful, though, because growing your brand may be a trap you might not recover from. Learn from the likes of American car manufacturers Ford, Chevrolet and Chrysler that adding more and more products to your offering will only bring short term growth. In the long run, this practice only weakens the brand as your customers become confused about your offering. You need to make sure that you don't compromise what your brand stands for if you want to expand. You must never forget to be focused and consistent in your message, whether it is in terms of the product range you offer or the set of values that you attach to this offering.
Often, rather than to expand your offering, it's better to narrow it down. Reebok's sales plummeted when their marketing fluctuated between messages of uniqueness, performance and fashion. Many consumers switched to Nike, thanks to their "Just do it" slogan, which promoted endurance, strength and performance and offered clarity of focus. Reebok fought back with their "Run Easy" campaign to promote their trainers for the casual jogger, and their brand value and sales increased.
Reebok grew their brand and made their money by narrowing down their focus, not by expanding it. To grow your brand, stick to your original offering or even make it smaller. If you feel you've become the leader within your market, don't expand the brand; rather, extend it to other markets. Be creative about finding new uses for your products and services to approach these new markets.
A great example of doing just that is Johnson & Johnson who years ago introduced their baby oil, a product exclusively marketed for babies. It then launched a campaign to market this same product to mothers and it caught on so well that people still use it today - babies and adults alike.
To recap, whether you're building, maintaining or growing your brand, follow there simple rules:
Do you have any other ideas for achieving brand growth? We'd love to hear them. Give us a ring on 01204 577 995.