Playing To The Fans: 4 Winning Ways To Extend Your Brand
Relationships matter. You may never be asked to autograph that package design you just finished, but chances are your brand has plenty of fans. These enthusiasts show their support by purchasing products instead of seeking autographs. And you can leverage this customer base to extend your brand into new product categories.
It’s all about trading on your brand’s recognition and reputation with customers. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), for example, is a brand best known for its over-the-top antics in televised professional wrestling matches. But the brand capitalizes on every opportunity to sell to its fan base by creating novelty items, such as collectible action figures modeled after its most popular characters.
Your brand’s fans probably don’t congregate around a ring. But who have you built up trust and good rapport with? Maybe your brand is adored by moms or a favorite among pet lovers. Playing off the strength of these customer relationships can lead to success in a new product category.
Here are four winning ways to leverage your customer base and extend your brand:
1.) Tap Into Same-Store Sales
It’s easier to leverage your existing customer base if you can sell your brand extension at the same store as your existing products. Moms happily buy Fisher-Price toys for their babies and toddlers at Toys ‘R’ Us, so it isn’t a stretch to pick up Fisher-Price Happy Days & Nights diapers there, too.
2.) Offer More to Special Customers
Smith & Wesson is known for guns, but the company sells those firearms to police departments and security personnel as well as average consumers. To extend its reach into these special customer bases, the brand sells guard booths, barriers, fencing and even police mountain bikes. Do you serve a special fan base? What else do they need?
3.) Create Unique Offerings
Kids love to watch Nickelodeon. But the brand discovered a new way to reach this customer base when it launched Nickelodeon Suites Resorts. This kid-themed resort is an unexpected product launch that serves the same fans—kids and parents.
4.) Sell to a Captive Audience
Motor Trend magazine’s subscribers, newsstand readers and website visitors make up a captive audience of automotive fans. But when the publication considered brand extensions, it needed to avoid categories with strong national brands that were advertisers (tires, motor oil, etc.). The brand wisely leveraged its customer base with small accessories, such as car phone chargers and hands-free headsets for drivers.
Who are you brand’s biggest fans? And how else can you reach them?
John Parham is President and Director of Branding at Parham Santana, the Brand Extension Agency. He has spent the past 25 years developing big picture strategies for his client’s branding, licensing and seasonal programs. He also contributes to Parham Santana’s Extendonomics blog, Fast Co.Design and AMEX OPEN Forum.
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