Brand Managers are always running for intensification & consolidation of the brands, the success of a brand always goes for brand extensions. Till date the focus of the brand managers has been to extend the brand to complimentary product portfolio to increase the outcome (sale value) & not output (the increase in number of consumers in the category). This has helped the brand managers to get access to a virgin market of brand extension or share of the existing competitive product already accepted in the market.
This philosophy had its own compulsions; if the brand extension did not succeed it eroded the mother brand market capitalization, but in majority of cases the brand extension category did enjoy the inched market share.
Lifebuoy, the hygiene soap extended to liquid soap, talcum powder & in the process of capturing new consumers cannibalized its own category brands,a zero sum game plan. But Dove from the same parent company, when extended the middle age deep cleansing soap category popular brand to shampoos and deodorants- was positioned against competitive brands with the middle age target audience and that gave an edge to the brand extensions & hit the right market cord & became an instant hit with better output (more sales, market & new consumer share).
Brand extension took a new turn by today’s marketers & media creative planners with introduction of the gender category extension.
Marketers are happy to reintroduce the existing product’s line with consumer. The coming age will see innovative product brand extension more on gender rather than product differentiation and envisaging a new product line. Gender focus marketing will be the key.
Segments like Alcohol, cars which were considered exclusive for male category got a boost from the engagement planners who shifted the consumer, media focus form product line to gender line. Today more cars are being procured by female category (not brand extension or design change, but product based & communicated for females).
Liquor products, a complete category for men is producing products for the female specie. Bacardi first introduced Breezer for the urban working/college going women & now Bacardi plus for the category to replace beer drinking. More & more women are joining as executives & as sales head in liquor companies & are driving this macho product line and organizing taste/test marketing of the liquor products in female kitty parties.
Cola giant, the Coca Cola which was positioning its brand Thums up as a macho brand & advertising thrill for the drinkers has changed the script for positioning from male he man ship to tender beauty script. As the product is having more than thirty percent female consumers as per market study, soon this product can have a brand extension not in flavor difference but end consumer extension, the female category consumer share enhancer.The tag line would be “Garam Garam hot hot Shiela ki pahle pasand –Thums up with rum ke sang, than introducing a new flavor variant “Thums up vanilla flavor 🙂
Motor cycle buying, an area dedicated to men has more than 10% women customers today & to entice this segment companies are organizing garage parties, featuring latest bikes with better (lower) seating arrangement for women rider. In India, Harley Davidson motorcycle had its first women customer in Bangalore & she was made the brand ambassador of the product, this has sparked a chain reaction among women to own their motorcycle.
To widen the customer base, marketers are pitching on gender based differentiation & to target the consumer in-house store’s interiors are changed. The color pink emphasizes female consumer; stores in the west have designed special aisles for toys for girls with pink as theme & toys for boys are placed in area with blue theme. Women today are shopping more than the man, women have more say on shopping decisions in particular to house furnishings, vacations, cars, selecting bank accounts, eating joints, jewelry etc. Online shopping also has more female visitors than the male counterparts, shoes, accessories, clothing are just few items of interest.
Product variation, differentiation, line extension have taken back seat & demand generation with focus on female customer is the marketer’s new marketing mantra.