Recently, I spoke with Laura and she shared some insight about branding.
She’s letting me share it with you.
My initial question:
How do so many established brands make the mistake of re-positioning contrary to the position they’ve already solidified?
I think one of the biggest reasons companies get branding wrong is that they are only focused on growth. They see milking brands via line-extension as an easy growth method. Short term line extensions can in fact bump growth, but the dilution of the brand usually results in a long term brand and sales decline.
If a brand establishes a position they believe it is theirs forever so they move on to adding other ideas. Instead they need to reinforce that position not try to expand it.
A brand’s success is also inextricably linked to the success of the category it is linked to. If your category dies, so will your brand.
UnFit For A King
I told her I felt a little uneasy about all the advertising Burger King is putting behind its new Grilled Dogs. Although hot dogs aren’t a far stretch from burgers, something just feels off about it to me. I asked Laura’s opinion and she said:
The executives at BK should walk outside and read the sign that says “BURGER KING.” It does not say Dog King. It is a huge mistake to spend so much time, money and resources promoting hot dogs.
The moral of the story is: Focus on things that reinforce your brand instead of expanding at the expense of dilution. Always pursue growth, but know that a short term bump may have negative long term consequences, if not aligned with your current positioning.
Don’t let that new product mess up a good thing. Pick up Laura’s book Visual Hammer for more insight on establishing your brand.