Risk! How to Win in the Game of Brand Extension

Helen Wing

The big buzzword of marketing in the 1990s was branding. Understanding a brand's core values, strengths, weaknesses or image became top priority for brand managers and their competitors. But once you have got this information, what can you actually do with it? More recently, the focus has shifted away from analysing brands, towards seeing exactly how far brands can reach.

The result is that extensions of existing brands dominate product and service launches, picking up the hype and headlines that new brands once did. In the last few weeks, for example, the technology sector has given us two highly talked- about extensions. Google's launch of its internet telephony brand, Google Talk, had some commentators wondering if the online giant was moving too far from its core competencies. Apple's announcement of the iPod Nano, meanwhile, won general approval, even though the Nano is arguably just a smaller version of an existing product. Meanwhile, unofficial websites such as snackspot.org find new packaged goods ranges every day.