Our wise friend and pesky critic Jay Livingston files this brand-spotters report:
“In the locker room of the gym, I noticed that a nearby padlock bore the Brinks label – that logo with the bars and the thick sanserif letters. I doubt that there's any connection between the ability to make a good padlock and the ability to field secure trucks and delivery teams. Still, it seemed like a good use of the brand to move into a new product… I would have taken a picture for you, but when I pulled out my camera, the guys going to and from the shower gave me these looks…”
Thanks, Jay. No one expects you to risk a locker-room whuppin just to provide evidence for brandsinger… So we grabbed a picture of our own.
How far a brand stretches is complicated, but let’s note three criteria:
1 What your brand represents in the public mind. The Virgin Group – which is notoriously diverse – relies on Richard Branson’s unifying attributes of fun, value and irreverence. The Virgin name shines in leisure but not in laparoscopy. When Coke tried to brand clothing, the company found that a rep for bubbly refreshment had no pull when it came to pullovers.
2 Depends on how well you lay the strategic groundwork and execute (this is painfully obvious). Harley-Davidson eye-wear better be cool and macho. Pink is out.
3 Depends on what you are as a company and strategically want from your brand. Do you hunger to squeeze every nickel of new revenue from a respected name? Or do you see tight focus and specialization as key to long-term value? Yes, this begs the question, but it is central to decision-making. Some companies live and breathe diversification and merchandising. Others fight for brand integrity and control.
The allure of new revenue can be irresistible. A Brinks padlock is a logical extension of the brand. But hey, know what else is sold under the Brinks name?
How about home theater systems. The link to armored cars is murky... though I suppose both feature heavy metal.