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Research by the brandgym suggests that despite the risks, many marketing teams have ambitions to stretch far from the core Core range extension is expected to account for only 46 per cent of extensions in the next three years, down from 63 per cent in the past three years (Figure 310) Instead, more use of direct and indirect stretch is planned However, many of these brands may actually lack the suppleness to stretch this far, at least in a way that delivers a decent return on investment Before you decide to work on bigger stretch into adjacent or distant markets, you may want to use the following brand typologies (Table 32) to help you assess how elastic your brand is All of these assume that the brand and core product have been strengthened, as discussed in the last chapter
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Type of extensions being launched 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 11% 26% 37% Indirect stretch Direct stretch 63% 47% Core range extension 16%
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Figure 310: Increasing use of bigger stretch
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Table 32: Suppleness check
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1 Open versus closed name 2 Attribute exibility 3 Bene t exibility 4 Badge values TYPOLOGY
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Specialist brand
Umbrella brand
Lifestyle brand
STEP TWO: VISION
The product brand: Focus on core range extension
This brand has the lowest level of suppleness and should stick to core range extension or even no extension at all At the most basic level, it may have a closed rather than open name that makes it harder to stretch For example, Shredded Wheat will struggle to sell something that is not shredded and made from wheat British Gas is slowly making inroads into the UK electricity market, but a good deal of money and time have been needed merely to get over the rst hurdle In contrast, a made-up name with no inherent meaning like Yahoo!, Virgin or Egg leaves more exibility for brand extension A more fundamental issue concerns attribute exibility Suppleness is limited by strong associations with particular attributes, such as colour, taste or shape (2) This is especially true for brands that de ne a particular product category, in the way that Pepsi and Coke are the de nitive colas This makes it hard to do even core range extensions that break the brand s codes without confusing consumers and so running the risk of low trial For example, 7-Up failed when it tried to break out of the lime and lemon category, of which it was the de nitive brand The failure of 7-Up Gold was explained by one executive as follows:
The product was misunderstood by the consumer People had a clear view of what 7Up products should be clear and crisp, clean and no caffeine 7-Up Gold is darker and it does have caffeine and so doesn t t the 7-Up image (3)
Breaking out of a perception straitjacket is of course made harder by remaining a monoproduct offer for years, decades or even centuries, in the case of Coca-Cola As with people, lack of stretching causes a brand s muscles to atrophy and lose suppleness In contrast, the more a brand stretches, the easier it becomes to stretch further
The specialist brand: Focus on direct stretch
Unlike the product brand, the specialist is not held back by strong associations with speci c attributes such as format and colour However, the specialist brand s strength is famous for its expertise and focus and so when stretching it stays close to the core It can achieve direct stretch into adjacent categories that are close to the core in terms of consumer perception For example, Colgate has stretched from toothpaste to offer a range of complementary products that deliver oral care bene ts, including toothbrushes, oral care chewing gum and mouthwash (Figure 311) In some cases brands learn the hard way that they are specialist brands that are better off sticking to a more tightly de ned, functional promise Domestos has refocused on being a specialist in germ kill for toilets, building on its heritage as a bleach that Kills 99% of all known germs dead This follows limited success at creating an umbrella concept around