Brand extensions have a mixed record.
Many are failures:
Cheetos lip balm. Colgate ready meals. Diesel wines. Zippo women’s perfume. Virgin Brides.
Others go on to be a huge success:
The Michelin Guides. Guinness World Record Book. Virgin Airlines. Amazon Echo. Google Pixel. Snickers Ice Cream.
Despite the potential for failure, many household brand names continue to launch surprising new products and brand extensions, such as the KFC smart phone and even Netflix marijuana which were both released in 2017.
What would consumers like to see in 2018?
To find out, we turned to 250 UK consumers and asked them which brands they’d love to see launch products across 12 different markets.
The Beats Boombox
From our previous survey of 1000 consumers, we already know they’re clamouring for retro tech such as boomboxes.
In this research, Beats by Dre came comfortably ahead of Spotify (2nd place) and Heart Radio (3rd) as the preferred brand to manufacture and sell boomboxes.
The Audi Smartphone
KFC may have got there first; and the smartphone market is pretty crowded right now...but if anyone was going to launch a new contender, then consumers would love it to be Audi.
Clearly their design and technology chops are recognised as core element that would also make for a pretty decent phone.
What will Apple’s next billion dollar product be? Why not listen to consumers and launch the iTrainer? We’re sure the smooth integration with other Apple products, haptic feedback and sleek, minimalist design would see them flying off the shelves.
The Google Bank
Fintech is a hot space right now, with lots of well-funded startups like Monzo and Atom Bank taking on the incumbents.
Could Google take notice? If they did, there’s clearly appetite from consumers, with 52% voting for Google as the preferred brand for launching a new banking service.
Ferrari Fast Food
Ferrari is synonymous with speed already, so perhaps it makes perfect sense that consumers would like to see them launch a new restaurant chain. We're guessing that they'd specialise in Italian cuisine.
You’ve got to admit, it has a certain ring to it.
With Snap being one of the major drivers behind a billion selfies being taken every day, then there’s a clear brand alignment here, because why wouldn’t they want their users to look their best?!
With a strong reputation in the transportation industry already, from Virgin Atlantic to trains to their space programme, we can see why the Virgin brand came out on top in this category.
They make reliable, luxurious cars already, so why not create comfortable, luxury furniture too? Consumers clearly feel happy about the prospect, and they may even make ‘seat warmers as standard’ the new industry benchmark for all sofa manufacturers!
There’s not much Amazon doesn’t sell these days, from entertainment to groceries, so why not love too? Given the volume of personal data they have on us, there’s every reason to believe they could create the perfect match. ‘Next day delivery’ may still be a stretch though.
For a brand that’s probably turned a few people into couch potatoes, opening up a chain of gyms may be the perfect way to balance their impact. And of course, they’d have peerless entertainment to keep you distracted while clocking up those treadmill miles.
BMW: The Movie
The Lego Movie was a giant success, and showed the potential for a nakedly brand-led cinema experience. Plus BMW’s no stranger to product placements in big budget movies. Maybe it’s time for them to step up from supporting case to the starring role?
Netflix Snack Bar
As referenced earlier, Netflix are already producing flavours of marijuana that matches their biggest shows. Producing a healthy snack to combat the munchies would be a savvy addition to the Netflix stable. And consumers have told us they’re hungry for it.
Whether a marketing stunt, or a serious product line extension that can help grow a brand’s bottom line, it never hurts to sanity check consumer demand.
If your existing brand doesn’t lend itself to a natural launch in a different category, then it’s very likely to fail from the start. However if you can test demand and interest before you invest a ton of time and money into the project, then your chances of a successful brand extension rises exponentially.