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How to Avoid the Line Extension Trap

If you follow the prevailing logic of most modern companies, you will inevitably fall into this trap. Line extension is using an existing brand name or image and extending it to new products. Sounds like a good idea, right? Why not use the equity of your known brand to draw attention to a new product? The reason is that you tend to confuse customers as to what your brand means, and in the long run this strategy decreases overall market share.

For example, in 1978 7UP was the lemon lime Uncola with a 5.7% share of the soda beverage market. Trying to capitalize on this significant market share, they created 7UP Gold, Cherry 7UP, and assorted diet versions. Logic would dictate that with a greater product offering they would have gained a greater share of the market. On the contrary, their sales plummeted to 4.2%. Line extensions confuse customers.

Why do so many companies use line extensions if they tend to fail? I'm not really sure why they continue to ignore the data, but here are some possible reasons:

? They don't do their homework. If companies took the time to investigate the lack of success of line extensions by other brands and companies, they might think better of the idea.

? Ego. They feel so successful with their current brand they think they can carry the momentum to the next item by slapping their name on the label. They also don't think the seven keys to marketing apply to them.

? Copycats. Everyone else has line extensions so they reason that it is the proper strategy, not taking into account the number of line contractions that frequently occur.

? Appearance of success. An insidious feature of this trap is that line extension usually has initial success. Consumers are usually curious about the new product with a familiar name and will try the new item initially, but long-term sales plummet. Some line extensions become market leaders further muddling the argument. But in those cases, it is usually because their direct competitors are also using line extensions such as Diet Coke vs. Diet Pepsi.

? Appearance of growth. Most executives are paid to come up with ideas on how to grow the brand. By concocting new versions of a brand, it appears as though they are earning their paycheck since there are more items in the market with their brand name on the label.

? Appearance of cost effectiveness. It would seem that extending a brand would be cheaper, since the company already has a place in the mind of the consumer. On the contrary, it often costs just as many, if not more, marketing dollars to educate the public about the new product line. In many cases, brands try to reeducate their consumers about what their name means. They are changing the promises made by the original brand.

No Splashing

An example of this is V8 Splash. V8 aired a commercial where a person drinking the new line of product is shocked to discover there is no tomato-y aftertaste. After decades of advertising and millions of dollars trying to get consumers to recognize V8 as a tomato beverage, they change the rules. In my book, this is a classic example of the line extension trap, and what not to do.

Of course there are times when it is a good move to expand a company by offering more products. A better strategy is to use co-branding (same company, different brand names). Coke has found success in this area with Sprite. Imagine if Coke had named its product Lemon Lime Coke. Sounds absurd, but think of the brands that have gone that direction. There is Pepsi Blue, which I still am not sure if it is berry colored, or berry flavored and I don't really care to find out. The new Mountain Dew Code Red is another confusing moniker, why didn't they just come up with a new name? But even a giant like Coke does not learn from its own success and follows with Lemon Coke. Each product needs its own image and word associated with it. If you feel you have significant market share where you are and you need to expand into new markets, co-branding is the better route. Proctor and Gamble has built an empire on co-branded products.

Narrow Your Focus

The 20th century taught businesses the power of specialization. Line extensions go against this theory by trying to make one brand all things to all people. As the saying goes "jack of all trades, master of none." People may not realize it at a conscious level, but they do categorize and choose brands known for a particular specialty. For this reason, marketers must narrow the focus of their product. The brands that stick in the brain are those that have a narrow, sharp, and focused tip. The broader the description and lines of a brand, the less likely it is to pierce the consumer's psyche. It is helpful to picture the brand as an actual object penetrating the brain tissue of the intended receiver. Imagine the customer standing in front of you with the top of his or her skull sawed off. The squishy gleaming brain matter is sitting exposed before you. If you are using a broad, expansive tool, it will not get past the gray matter. By creating a narrow focused point, the brand is able to puncture the brain tissue. I know this is a grotesque illustration, but I bet I got it to it stick in your brain.

Michael Daehn is the founder of marketingenious consulting and author of the book The Seven Keys to Marketing Genius: The Complete Guide to Increasing Your Marketing IQ available at http://www.sevenkeysmarketing.com and http://www.borders.com

Visit his website at http://www.marketingenious.com

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In The News:

Tracking the progress of the third party testing we at PES are coordinating along with U-Plug Products LLC, of their 2 kW U-Plug magnet motor that is a 24"x6" portable cylinder weighing 20 pounds, expected to cost 2,000 USD. We want to run it three times longer (21 hours) than what the best batteries available could provide. (PESWiki; February-April 2016)
Pre-launch video announces a new LENR website coming March 1, 2016 at http://LookingForHeat.com The video is very well done as an entertaining piece that hopefully will go viral. (Free Energy Blog; February 21, 2016)
It's not easy to find a qualified testing agency that is also willing to sign off on something that appears to defy our existing understanding of the laws of physics. U-Plug has agreed to allow for a group of us scientists, including at least 3 PhDs to go test their unit and publish our report. (PESN; February 20, 2016)
So that this is quite clear, this is a test on a Regular Torch. NOT the ELFE flashlight. This is to compare them. 2 x NiMH AA 1.2v Battery's in a Regular Torch with a Halogen Bulb. Load is 2.8v and 0.85amps. (PESN; February 17, 2016)
Video explains the scientific principles behind how the ELFE flashlight harnesses endless free energy from the environment (Earth's magnetic field), which works better in some regions than others. It also shows the insides the torch. Uses the word "antennae," as one of the components. (PESN; February 14, 2016)
"The OPhone contains a capacitor that directly powers our phone. During extensive use this capacitor may become discharged, however this capacitor is being constantly trickle charged by Orbo. So after a period of time the capacitor will be recharged and the phone will be functional again. In essence the phone is charging itself." (Free Energy Blog; February 13, 2016)
The company that has figured out how to harness the earth's magnetic field to produce usable power and has been selling the ELFE flashlight (two more customer reports), is now developing a 3 kW generator. In two weeks, they are holding a business meeting for international distributors. (PESN; February 12, 2016)
Illinois company is gearing up to manufacture a 2 kW (115 volts, 17.3 amps) magnet motor that is load-following, portable, 24"x6" tube, weighing 20 pounds, very quiet, with 3-year warranty but expected to last at least 20 years with zero maintenance. Third-party tested. MSRP 2000 USD, beginning March, 2016, through distributors. (PESWiki; February 11, 2016)
The government agent who worked on this technology five decades ago, that is similar to Professor Steven E. Jones' Joule Ringer, thinks it is conceivable that we could eventually scale this solid state technology up to have a device the size and price of an air conditioner providing 20 kw. (PESWiki; February 9, 2016)
Nagendra Singh in Mumbai, India, informs us that they have built five of these and have two running for customers presently, in the 40 kVA range. "Presently it is too [expensive], costing 3200 USD per kva below 30 kva." (PESWiki; February 8, 2016)
The SunCell is described as a solid state "Sun in a Box." A 200 kW module would weigh around 250 pounds, with energy production cost being around 1 cent/kwh, so return on investment could be ten days. They are expected to be available commercially by Q1, 2017. (PESN; January 6, 2015)
"Today I received my Elfe Flashlight and it works. Time will tell if it meets the claims of automatically recharging, when depleted. If it holds, the claims a real breakthrough in FE technologie would have been accomplished." -- German customer (PESWiki; February 6, 2016)
The phone battery indicator stays near full even with heavy usage throughout the day. (The battery is charged by the internal OCube that pulls energy from the wheelwork of nature, solid state). (PESWiki; February 5, 2016)
The capacity of the Proton-3ND (Proton -3 Nano Diffusion) battery is projected to be 44 times the capacity of lithium batteries. Electric vehicles with these batteries would have more power and much more mileage at no extra charge. (PESN; January 4, 2016)
HH2 water fuel cell creates pure hydrogen off a 9-volt battery. This was a big diesel HH2 cell that was tested on a 16-liter Cat engine for CARB testing; yet it ran on very low amps and a low 9 volts. (PESWiki; February 3, 2016)
A former U.S. Government worker describes his effort to bring to public awareness (by highlighting things presently in the public domain) energy and anti-gravity technologies that the government had operational 50 years ago but has kept from the public. (PESN; February 2, 2016)
Imagine an incandescent bulb that is actually more efficient than LEDs! Well, it actually exists (MIT) and it does so by recycling light. (Free Energy Blog; February 2, 2016)
SMBC-Comics.com has posted a fun spoof on our skeptics. (Free Energy Blog; February 1, 2016)
"OK, so a lot of people are asking what's the difference between an Orbo power cell and traditional batteries." Batteries store energy, Orbo generates energy, then trickle charges a lithium ion battery.] (Free Energy Blog; February 1, 2016)
Mr. Keshe is as misleading in the field of free energy as he is regarding me. That has been my experience the years I've been exposedto his work. He takes something and blows it so far out of proportion that it barely resembles the fact from which it was extrapolated into infinity. He demands: "Close PESWiki now." (PESWiki; January 31, 2016)
They have achieved solid state operation using an electromagnetic pump to spray the molten silver between the electrodes for the 1000/second continuous pulsing for continuous power production. (Free Energy Blog; January 29, 2016)

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