Brand extensions: Why Coke Life is doomed to fail

Patrick Fagan

Brands need to change with the times to survive but they must not remove the cognitive attributes that chime with consumers, such as Coke's red labelling and taste expectations.

It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself."

Charles Darwin, unfortunately, did not say this. It is, rather, a quote from business professor Leon Megginson, who was himself paraphrasing Darwin's work. However, it can hardly be doubted that adaptation is essential for survival, particularly in the business world. Take, for example, David Bowie. He continuously adapted his sound, fashion and persona to suit the era in which he found himself – from Ziggy Stardust to his Let's Dance new wave phase, and beyond. Meanwhile, those artists who remain stuck in their formative years, such as Mötley Crüe or Oasis, seem perpetually barred from a wider audience and from wider success.