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Extending the core range might be less sexy than a bigger stretch into new markets However, it strengthens the foundations on which the brand is built and can also be a good source of growth
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Before you extend
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Importantly, extension is merely one way of growing the core business and should only be done after other avenues have been fully optimized, such as: Core product/pack or service Distribution Pricing Communication Sizing and size by channel Promotion
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Kellogg s Corn akes is an example of a brand that seems to have recognized the importance of nurturing the core product After having spent several years focused on extensions, in 2003 the brand put a big push behind upgrading the core pack, foil wrapping the cereal for better freshness
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Core range extension
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If the core product mix has been optimized, attention can turn to core range extension This can involve new versions that introduce a new avour or functional bene t For example, the Sida haircare brand in Brazil launched a hydrating shampoo especially for mulatto or mixed race hair This was a key part of the brand s repositioning as one that really understood Brazilian women, which trebled sales between 1997 and 1999 The other main type of core range extension is format change This can be through modifying the product format to better meet the needs of consumers For example, over 50 million bars of Kit Kat Chunky were despatched within the rst few weeks of its launch Within six months more than 20 per cent of the UK population had tried the product and the repeat rates were high (1) This extension helped address declining usage among 12 20-year-olds, who liked the wafer texture of the original four- nger Kit Kat but wanted a more substantial and satisfying eat
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STEP THREE: IDEAS
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Format change can also be through new pack formats, which can be highly effective when they address real needs Thinking big led Coke to develop 15l PET bottles that boosted in-home consumption Thinking small inspired Pringles to launch mini cans that opened up a whole new eating moment for individuals on the move and boosted the price per unit
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Market mapping
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Analysing brand performance against six dimensions that drive consumer choice can help identify core range extension opportunities: people, periods, places, purpose, price and product The performance of the brand is reviewed against each of these 6 P s to highlight areas of underlap where the brand is underperforming Extension is one way of lling these gaps (Figure 41) The six dimensions are of course all interrelated, but looking at each of them in turn usually does throw up different ideas
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People Attracting people unlikely to buy current products
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Purpose Offering major new benefits that cannot be delivered on core product
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CORE RANGE EXTENSION ANGLES Period Adapting product to make it fit for purpose on new occasions Pricing Superior product at a higher price Discouraging switching for novelty
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Place Taking product into new outlets and places of consumption
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Figure 41: Core range extension angles
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Kit Kat packshot and Nesquik image reproduced by permission of Nestle UK Ltd; Hovis packshot reproduced by permission of British Bakeries; Doritos packshot reproduced by permission of Walkers Snacks; Optimax logo reproduced by permission of Shell
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BRAND STRETCH
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People: New users
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Levi s Engineered Jeans (LEJ) played a key role in the brand s successful drive to win back younger people This key target group had deserted the brand during the 1990s, leading to a decline in share from 30 to 14 per cent Product range was a key weakness, as the marketing director for northern Europe described:
The traditional 501s were still a huge seller, but we rode too long on that glory We suddenly started to lose customers, particularly the 15 19-year-olds who had switched to cargo and combat pants Levi s weren t cool or sexy any more (2)
Some observers went as far as proclaiming that denim was dead However, with LEJ Levi s was able to reinvent its core product for a whole new generation The product had a twisted seam that made jeans more comfortable to wear but also made them look new and different Share of 11 24-year-olds grew by 9 per cent during the rst year of launch and LEJ became 11 12 per cent of the brand s business Rejuvenating the user base is not just important for fashion brands Polaroid was a brand in risk of losing relevance to younger people, who no longer found the idea of instant photos that exciting The new I-Zone camera has helped recruit these younger users into the brand The colourful product design and more portable format t their needs (Figure 42) The smaller-format photos are ideal for sticking on locker doors and on exercise pads and books Distribution in new channels such as supermarkets and toy shops helped launch the extension