Brandsymbol was excited to see the launch of Toyota Motor’s Corolla Cross as a great example of the power of a smart brand extension strategy. You can read more about the features of this new vehicle and quickly see why we think it hits all the positives of an effective brand extension.
WHEN SHOULD YOU LEVERAGE YOUR BRAND?
Brand extension or leveraging is a powerful strategy option Brandsymbol evaluates with our partners. Extending the name and reputation of a well-established brand has the potential to significantly bolster a new product’s entry into the marketplace.
A well-achieved brand extension builds brand equity for both your new and existing brands. When successful, it results in many competitive advantages, including:
- a sense of familiarity for the new product,
- opportunity to reach new demographics,
- market share expansion,
- reduced product introduction costs, and
- increased profit margins.
On the flip side, a failed brand extension can result in brand dilution, degrading the original brand with negative associations and potentially alienating your original brand’s loyal followers.
A brand extension is a complex strategy influenced by several important considerations, beginning with these three:
- Does your original brand have a history of significant positive recognition and market share?
- Would your expanded product family have easy-to-identify connections to a target market, levels of quality, and product attributes for styling, differentiating feature, purpose, function, or lifestyle?
- Will the brand relationship reduce the cost of entry of your new product?
BRAND EXTENSIONS AND INDUSTRY TRENDS.
You can find a plethora of successful brand extensions in the consumer goods and technology marketplaces – Dyson Supersonic hairdryer, Trix Yogurt, Dove Men + Care, and Apple iPad, just to name a few. However, other industries are much more conservative in their use of brand extensions.
The automotive industry tends to limit the use of brand extensions to modifications in trim, engine, or sport features. Every car manufacturer has these conservative types of extensions in their portfolio, like the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, Land Rover Range Rover Sport, and the Honda CR-V Hybrid. Rarer is the example of an automotive brand extending to a wholly new product line that stretches the boundaries of the original brand.
It is understandable why the automotive industry approaches brand extensions with caution. While it can certainly be a complex process, success can strengthen both the original brand and its extensions and allow a company to lead in new subcategories. In industries flooded with individual brands and category confusion, there is definitely room for intelligently leveraging your best brands. Credit to Toyota for their bold approach.