Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Brand extension: Covering six months in 30 seconds!


Brand extension is a core strategy to make an established brand flourish more and be sustainable amid tough competition and rapidly changing scenarios.

Brand Extension is one of the core concepts in Brand Management and importantly, one of the primary rationales to invest in Brand Building and not just sales.

Brand Extension in terms of tangible action, in simple terms, is leveraging an established Brand to launch a new product/service.

Vraneevi, Mandi & Panda, 2007

Brand Extension isn’t easy. A simple way to appreciate the complexity and the challenges is to juxtapose Brand Extension with Line Extension. Yes, from Product Development, Distribution, etc., Line Extension isn’t easy either. After all, if it’s so easy, it isn’t a solid long-term business! Anyway, purely from Marketing and within that, from a Brand Management perspective, Brand Extension is the holy grail.

Another aspect of Marketing, Marketing Communications and within that Advertising, plays a crucial role in Building a Brand. Then, in helping the target market/consumers discover with delight the linkage between a brand they like or love with something new that the Brand’s parents have decided to move into. Come to think of it, Advertising’s basic role is to merely communicate – of course effectively – what’s there and/or been/being done. It is in this context that amongst a barrage of silly to not-so-silly Advertising that’s been be-numbing our senses in terms of what we can call, IPL-Advertising, there’s one Campaign that stands out.

The Campaign doesn’t necessarily jump out in terms of creativity. It isn’t really clutter-breaking. It doesn’t have celebrity brand ambassadors. Nor has Social Media been leveraged to build a chatter around it and so, adequately ‘story-told’. However, in the heap of advertisements trying hard to be funny, the campaign seems like the one that is likely to help in achieving the business and Marketing objectives/goals for the Company and that’s because it seems to be so true to all the Rationale as to why we should invest behind Building a Brand and – then – Extend.

The campaign being discussed here is the JAQUAR campaign. To be specific, the set of Jaquar Lights TVCs on the IPL2022.

The campaign is a set of TVCs basically and broadly showing: that when we hear the term Jaquar, we visualise Bath Fittings; but, actually, here Jaquar is about Light Fittings.

Visualisation is quirky. Like people in a proper conference room, sitting on the toilet or getting drenched under a shower! Conceptually, however, it is deep and rich. At the core of Brand Extension is an Existing Brand; its Imagery, Values, Positioning and its Equity. As Researchers & Scholars have said, “Fit between the parent brand and an extension product is the most important driver of brand extension success” (Volckner & Sattler, 2006). The ‘Fit’, is important to understand to appreciate the beauty & strength of the Campaign, in Brand Extension is not just about similar products, which is primarily Line Extension; but about fit in terms of the very Essence of the Brand itself.

For a business, a Brand’s Stretchability, which is the power of the Brand getting Extended before the Connection literally Snaps (sic), is actually beyond just the basic ‘fit’. The concept of BEA says: “BEA captures consumer perceptions of brand extension legitimacy and cultural contiguity along four interrelated but distinct dimensions: maintaining brand standards and style, honouring brand heritage, preserving brand essence, and avoiding brand exploitation. BEA provides an important, complementary construct for predicting brand extension success and enhancing brand value. Brand managers attentive to BEA may be able to stretch brands further than assessments of fit alone would suggest.” (Susan Spiggle, Hang T. Nguyen, Mary Caravella, 2012)

The depth of Strategic Thinking that would have gone behind and the prowess of the Campaign is indeed validated by juxtaposing the set of TVCs with what the Concept of BEA says. The TVCs are asserting that brand Jaquar is really Salient; are Honouring the Heritage of Brand Jaquar; are Celebrating the Brand Equity of Brand Jaquar; are Asserting that Bath is synonymous with Brand Jaquar and vice versa.

Then seamlessly, it brings a completely new product category into the domain of Brand Jaquar! Note that, there are no words about why & how the Bath fittings are great; nor about what’s good about the new set of products. The last and the closing frame is actually the Essence of the powerfulness of the TVCs. It simply says, Jaquar Bath+Light. No closing statements, no taglines, nothing. As it says in BEA, the TVCs with the what the TVCs conclude with, follow the key aspect for brand Extension of ‘maintaining brand standards and style’.

There are, of course, numerous other examples of Brand Extensions around us, in recent times. Noteworthy is the one that is exactly in the same space. Asian Paints’ foray into Bath. It actually helps underscore the substance behind and substance inside – the Jauquar IPL-Campaign.

Asian Paints, surely one of the biggest brands in India, forayed into Bath, where Jaquar already is, some time back. However, apart from using the existing Brand Name, Asian Paints hasn’t really leveraged the Equity of the Brand Asian Paints. Maybe the Company is following a different structure to grow its business and leverage its Brand Equity. Maybe it is looking at a different Brand Architecture. But it does help in understanding and appreciating the Jaquar Bath+Light Campaign, better.

The TVCs are, at the same time, pithy, crisp and straightforward. The message one takes home is utterly simple…just, ‘Bath+Light’. Yeah, it is too early in terms of the campaign’s impact on Brand Parameters and/or on Business. Anyway, we won’t know in so much specificity & detail, whether the Campaign worked in terms of Marketing Communications Objectives, like building Awareness, Salience and Consideration for Jaquar Lights. Or, in terms of the impact on the Business, particularly for the new launch, the Brand Extension.

In any case, Business, which is actual Sales is a function of various other factors, including the overall Marketing Communications (building the buzz and the conversation on Social Media; leveraging other Media and so on), PR, Go-to-Market (Visibility, Customer Engagement and Retailers Engagement and so on), Distribution/Availability, Pricing, Competitive Response and so on. But, in terms of classic Brand Extension Concept, Definition, Framework and its Translation into Marketing Activities, this campaign is actually a complete course in Brand Extension. A semester’s worth in 30 seconds! Indeed, six months in 30 seconds!!

Also Read: What NOT to do!

(Sanjeev Shukla is a corporate strategy and marketing leader with three decades of experience with Hyundai, Hero MotoCorp, Ford and the advertising world.)

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Autofintechs.com. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.)


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