Brand Extensions / Add-on Brands.

Cocacola Brand Extensions
Cocacola Brand Extensions

Brand extension is a strategy where the company uses an existing brand name to launch products in the existing or new category. This brand extension strategy is often the most used growth strategy for brands by marketers. The popularity of this strategy has given rise to a host of discussion among the academic and professional community about the efficacy of brand extensions.

Why Marketers go after brand extensions?

Exploiting existing brand’s equity

Brand extensions often are perceived to be a less risky strategy for launching new products. The logic behind using the existing brand name for new products is to exploit the brand equity of the existing brand. Recently Sundrop which is a famous sunflower oil brand launched Sundrop Peanut Butter. The use of the prominent brand in the new product is expected to trigger trial usage by the consumers of the parent brand.

Costs of launching brand extensions are low

Compared to launching new brands, brand extensions are perceived to be less costly to launch. The reason is that both the channel members and the consumers are familiar with the brand. Hence the extensions are tapping on the existing awareness of the brand. The marketers can thus use their budget to increase the trial usage rather than spend money on creating brand awareness. In one way using existing brand names helps marketers to skip one step in their brand building process.

Experiment

Brand extensions also prompt marketers to explore new categories for the brand. Since the cost of launching brand extensions are lower compared to a new one motivate the marketers to leverage the existing brand’s equity into new categories.

Expand

Brand extensions also expand the scope of the brand. Ponds, which started off as a cold cream, is now an umbrella brand that endorses a wide range of beauty products. Dettol which is a highly successful antiseptic lotion brand has now a basket of products ranging from soaps to plasters. The brand extensions increase the scope and turnover of the brand and thus give more revenue to the firm.

Brand Extensions have its own set of negatives. Brand extensions are based on some assumptions which if gone wrong can affect the parent brand’s equity.

One assumption in brand extension is that consumers like the brand hence will like all the products endorsed by the brand irrespective of the categories. The second assumption is that the parent brand’s equity can be leveraged across various categories. Hence brand extensions will have similar positive equity as the original brand.

Critics argue that brand extensions will dilute the original brand’s equity. Sometimes there is a proliferation of extensions that dilute the parent brand’s positioning. So when a soap brand extends itself into shampoo, the core identity of the brand as soap is now irrelevant. If not clearly defined, the parent brand may lose its product associations in the consumer’s mind.

Another danger in brand extensions is the positioning confusion. For brands which are extending to related-categories are better off in positioning because the brand can continue with the same positioning when extending to related categories. But when the brand is moving to unrelated categories, the same positioning may not work in the new category. A change in the positioning for brand extensions will have adverse impact on the original brand’s position.

However, brand extension is an invaluable strategic tool for marketers looking for expanding the scope of the brand. Marketers have to get their basics right before embarking on the extension strategy.

To Extend or Not to Extend

This may sound too basic a question but every marketer should ask this question about the brand.

“Whether this brand should be extended in future?”

The future of the brand lies in this question. For a new brand, the decision to extend or not to extend in future will have its implication in the selection of brand name and positioning. A brand name which is highly associated with a product feature or category will have limited scope for future extensions. The positioning strategy will also have to be crafted in a manner which will facilitate future brand extensions. For an existing brand, this question will bring about a need for a change in the current positioning strategy.

Have a Vision

The most important task for a marketer looking for brand extension is to have a vision for the brand. Brand extensions as a short-term marketing strategy will be damaging for the parent brand. The development of a long term vision starts with the critical questions as to whether the brand should be extended or not. Once the marketer has decided on the extension, he has to chart a growth path for the brand. The vision involves deciding whether the parent brand should be used as an umbrella brand or as an endorser. Should the brand be used for unrelated extensions or limited to a category?

The careful planning of the brand’s future will eliminate lot of confusion in terms of positioning, category decisions etc.

Line Logic

Marketers should be clear about the impact of a line or brand extension on the product line of the company. Authors John Quelch and David Kenny in an Harvard Business Review article – Extend Profits Not Product-lines suggest that the company sales officers should take a line logic test where they should be able to explain in one sentence, the strategic role played by each SKU (stock keeping units) in the product line .The consumer should also be able to understand the how these extensions fits his/her needs.

Focus

The biggest threat of brand extension is the possible loss of focus on the parent brand because of extensions. Brand Extensions are opportunities for growth. While extending, marketers should not forget that the extensions are based on the equity of the original brand. Any change in the marketing mix strategy of the extensions will have an effect on the parent brand. This strong relationship between the extensions and parent brand should be taken into consideration during every brand promotions.

Lost Opportunity

Every brand extension is lost opportunity to build a new brand. While extensions take away lot of pressure from the marketers, one should have a clear understanding about the potential loss of an opportunity to build a new brand.

Creating Brand Experience

Brand experience
Brand experience

We are living in an experiential society. The consumers are moving towards selecting products based on experiential factors and marketers have the opportunity to sell products at a premium if the product is able to deliver the right kind of experience.

Bernd Schmitt in his book Customer Experience Management: A revolutionary Approach to Connecting with Your Customers; has defined customer experience management as the process of strategically managing a customer’s entire experience with a product or a company. Experiential marketing aims to engage the consumers so that he gets a complete experience of the product or service. Rather than depending on features, brands are looking at ways to deliver a holistic experience to the consumer.

There are many factors that drive this experience economy. Consumers are now armed with lot of information. This information has made many a differentiation irrelevant. Hence more than the product’s features, consumers tend to evaluate products based on their experience with the product and the company.

Marketers earlier had tried to create brand experience through standalone promotional activities. These activities were short-term and were intended to give a peek into the brand’s projected experience. But the situation now demands that the brand deliver its experience every time the consumer makes a contact with the brand or the company.

In this period where product feature based differentiation is hard to sustain, marketers must create a brand experience which can act as a sustainable differentiation platform.

Understand consumer’s world.

The first task for the marketer is to thoroughly understand the consumer’s world. Consumers live their experience from their own world. Hence when the marketers try to create brand experiences it should resonate with the consumer’s own world.

Brands which target children practice this principle very effectively. Take the example of Cadbury’s Diary Milk Wowie. The brand takes the kids through a chocolate world where the hero Mickey Mouse helps the kids to enjoy the chocolate world and protect them from harm. This fantasy world appeals to the kids intensely and the level of involvement of kids in this campaign is very high.

Be Relevant

Another critical factor for creating effective brand experience is the relevancy of the experience. For creating relevant brand experiences, marketers must get inside the life of a customer. In the highly insightful book “The Game Changer” P&G CEO: A G Lafley describes the importance of understanding the life of the consumers. P&G made it compulsory for its marketing team to involve deep into their consumers life so that they could come out with products that made their life easier.

Credible

The brand experiences that marketers create should be authentic and credible. Fantasy works best for children but for adults, the experience must be based on realism. The promise has to be delivered. This calls for the organization to be highly customer centric.

Kingfisher Airlines created a very meaningful credible experience by making the most of customer touch points. The ushers who helps the traveller at the entrance of the airport to the cabin services and food served created a new brand experience for the travellers.

Memorable

Consumers should cherish the experiences created by the brand in their memories. The experience should appeal both to the rational and emotional mind of the consumer. Catering to the emotional self of the consumer will help the brand to build attachment with the consumer. Appealing to the rational self will enhance the credibility.

Asian Paints in its clutter breaking campaign “ Har Rang Kuch Kahta Hain “achieved both these objectives. The campaign touched the emotional chord with the consumers and also appealed to the rational mind of the consumers. The brand made the experience more rational by launching sample packs where the consumers can paint a portion of the wall to see how the colour will actually look like.

Involve

It is absolutely important for a brand to involve the consumers in any brand related activity if it wants to create a complete experience. The popularity of internet has opened many opportunities for the brand to involve the consumers. The brand can motivate consumers to sign up in an online community, visit the website or play games, share experience etc.

Brands can create involvement offline too. Kinder Joy has a unique method of creating a brand experience by bundling its chocolate with a surprise gift. Kids eat the chocolate and play with the toy and it created a unique brand experience for them which compel them to buy more.

Brands can create involvement by devising interesting brand rituals. Kitkat smartly taught its consumers a unique ritual of eating KitKat. Consumers willingly adopted this brand ritual making the experience of eating Kitkat unique. Brands can extend the involvement with the consumers by introducing memorabilia and collectables which will further enhance the brand experience.

Retail Training

Employee productivity
Employee productivity

Six Ways to Improve an Employees Productivity Today

Here are six simple actions you can take to help someone be more productive today.

1. Challenge her. From time to time we all need a little bit of extra motivation and focus. Challenge a person who has a $200 average sale to strive for $225 today.  At the very least she will be more aware of where her average sale is that day.

2. Observe and give feedback. Take a few minutes to watch your employee with a customer.  Afterward, share with the employee one or two ideas he can try with the next customer.  Even better, continue to observe the employee so that you can give him feedback on how he applied your suggestion.

3. Teach him. We often take for granted that our employees know everything they need to know to be productive, but just because we’ve taught it doesn’t mean they learned it or remember it.  Ask yourself what is the one thing you can teach an employee that will help him/her be more productive.  Then do it.  There’s nothing wrong with quick refresher courses or a pop quiz.

4. Show him. Most people they learn better by watching rather of simply being told.  If you want an employee to improve his add-ons (or as we call it, enhancing the sale) you or another employee can demonstrate the expected behaviors.

5. Reward them. Contests and spiffs are a great way to increase productivity, but don’t expect the motivation to continue after the end of the contest or spiff.

6. Tell her. Sometimes you just have to tell someone that her productivity is below your expectations, and you expect her to do better today.  This only works if you know the person has the skills to do what you’re asking.

Here’s what doesn’t help someone be more productive today

1. Hoping they do better.

2. Spending time in the office.

3. Thinking about what they need to do.

4. Putting it on your to-do list.

5. Avoiding the person you need to talk to/work with.

6. Doing it yourself.

Of course I’ve totally oversimplified the very big topic of coaching and developing employees.  Which was also my intent.  Most of the ways I listed to increase an employee’s productivity only take a few minutes of your time.

You don’t need fancy forms or hour-long meetings to improve an employee’s productivity.  It just takes a commitment to make it happen


My Journey from College to Work .

Fresh out of school ,Like everyone I wanted a good college life,wanted to enjoy it, but very soon in my life I realised that I cant have that life for a long period , I decided that I will do correspondence studies

after 2 years of junior college,as planned I passed 12th in 1999 & enrolled for correspondence studies for my graduation.

Benefits of correspondence studies –

You get a lot of free time for yourselves as you just have to go & sit for the exams without attending lectures.

You can work part time or full time jobs & earn yourselves some money to enjoy life.

You dont have to study all year long.

Forgot to mention the reason I wanted to do correspondence is in my college I saw professors teaching students right from the Guide books & not anything from their experiences, I got fed up & I was mature enough to realise that that kind of studies I can do on my own, & I did & passed Graduation by securing 1st class [ 64 % ] which was very good for anyone who did not attend classes regularly.

After the results when I saw lot of my friends who were in regular colleges & were studing throught the year for the graduation, most of them failed & some got less marks than me.

I had to think why I fared better than most of my friends , & I got my answers in no time.

I had nothing to lose as I did not study throught the year.

Most of the friends were nervous writing the paper as they thought they will forget the answers when the question comes in front of them.

I had more experience in real life situations ,beacause I had some work experience from doing full time jobs.

I just read the topic & tried to understand what the author says without mugging up all the answers like my friends did.

When I saw the questions , answers just came naturally to me.

I knew that even if I fail , I was having enough experience for the job which will give me more money than the fresh graduate jobs.

I was fearless at the time of exams.

Now I earn more than my friends who had gone to college full time , but yes I still regret that I did not enjoy college completely , but you have to pay the price for everything , I had to pay the price of full time college to earn more.

Experience made me more mature than my other friends ,which helps me in my day to day life in making decisions for my work & my personal life.

My First Pay Cheque-1999

1999 – The memory of getting my first paycheque is still so fresh in mind as it had happened yesterday.

When I was in my seventh standard in school, me & my friends starting smoking for fun.

My close Friends in school
Pratik Mhardolkar. [We are still very close & in touch on a daily basis]
Ranjit Chavan. [We are not in touch, he is vamoosed without a trace , I miss him a lot]
Tarvindar Saggu. [We are not in touch,its been a long time I spoke to him , he is shifted to Thane]

My first Job in Real Value Ltd , it was a Public ltd co ,with all sorts of perks like daily allowance , Medical facility & others. It was a outdoor selling job , In 1999 Bank Manager salary would be around 6000 Rs .& I was earning 4500 Rs as my first job in organised market.
It was a dream job for me as lots people were searching a job in Banks & Admin sector where they get security & medical & allowances.

Coming back to the point ,

We friends had made a habbit to go in our school ground every evening for smoking cigarattes.
That moment I still remember as my friends were the first to see my salary cheque & give a reaction.
Pratik said he was very happy to see the cheque & happy for me, Ranjith gave a pat on my back & Tarvinder was smiling from his eyes.

It was a proud moment for me as I had worked very hard for that.

It was a very difficult job & I had that fire in my belly as it was my first job.
That job going office to office with that 5g fire extinguiisher to give demonstrations has taught me lots of things which are still helping me in my personal & professional life.

Everyone wondered how I got this job .

5 Days before I got this job,i was unemployed & was searching a part-time job when going through the newspapers I saw an advertisements saying earn 25000 Rs per month, this ad fascinated me & I went to the adress of this ad , what I saw in this place was a marketing office where all the people were carrying Big Sack of Bags in & out of the office & I was wondering that what this people are doing.

I asked the receptionists that I want to earn 25000 Rs per month,she guided me to the manager in that marketing office, the manager called me next morning in the office.
Next morning I went to the office , that manager told me it is a door to door selling job , I thought if it is a door to door selling job how can you earn 25000 Rs, I was wondering that the salesmans who comes to our house to sell the household items ,do they really earn 25000 Rs ,i had to find out.
The manager told me to go with a salesman on the feild & see how he works & earns.
The salesman name was Tiwari he was from U.P & had that UP accent when he use to talk broken English.

I went with him , he did not talk too much . He took me to the nearest garden & told me to sit ,he spread the newspaper on the grass & he lied down.

I was confused , I said to myself that in the morning where we have to go for work , this guy is sleeping without any tension.

I forgot to mention , it was a only commission job with no fixed salary.

When he was sleeping I asked him , what he was doing, He replied after a long pause in hindi , look Kiran this is the morning time when Husbands are gone to work as they have the money ,& Housewives are busy in their daily chores, in the afternoon people eat & sleep for sometime, Nobody likes a salesman in the afternoon & morning , So we will start in the evening.

To my amazement, that guy started from 5pm to 7pm & earned 750 Rs as commission for himself in 2 hours.
As they say people from UP are the best salespeople.
So next day I took my sack & went on my own on the field to sell & earn some commission.
I did not look like a salesman , I was in my Levis Jeans & an expensive T-shirt & shoes.
My mom make Tiffin for me & I use to eat that on station with some tea.
For 4 days I could not sell a single item , it was summer season , was difficult to carry that bag & walk but still I was trying very hard.
On the 4th day in Vikhroli at around 1pm I went to the Real Value office to sell my items , I was desperate & tired , there was an executive in the office , he told me that their Regional manager is going to come at 3pm, so he asked me to come at 3pm.

I came again at 3 pm & their was their Regional manager sitting in his office , that executive guided me to his office, he told me to give presentation, as I was desperate for a sale , I started lying to him about the product with complete confidence & conviction ,that manager was very experienced & was knowing that I was lying to him, when I finished the presentation ,he told me that he liked the way I presented the product & gave me an offer to work for him , & I accepted the job.

This job moulded me the way I look at things & made me a professional very early in my life.

My Great pleasure was not after seeing my Salary Cheque , It was after seeing the Salary Slip with all the Perks & Allowances & Medical Expenses,

My Mom was proud of me , that was enough :o)

– kiran mendekar.

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