Brand Extentions and Elasticity
When a successful brand is born, it’s typically to fill a consumer need. If it’s a consumer packaged good, it’s usually launched with one or two flavors or forms. If the brand takes off and gains brand loyalists, you will typically see a proliferation of the brand. Often times, once the product has gained credibility in the category or space that it fills, the brand then takes a step back and tries to figure out what other consumer needs that they may be able to provide. Where is the white space? Typically, this is done by taking a look at the categories surrounding the brand in its retail environment.
An example is Life Time, a national health and wellness athletic facility. Life Time opened its doors in 1992 with one gym. Today, there are over 140 gyms/spas around the country with over 105,000,000 visits annually. By any stretch of the imagination, a successful brand. In 2017, Life Time introduced wellness clinics inside of their fitness clubs. They felt that this was a natural extension for a brand that promotes health and fitness.
Then, last year, Life Time introduce Life Time Work, which was an entirely new concept that began to reshape the shared workspace industry. They created environments that, in their opinion, promote a healthy mindset. They offer private offices and open desk space for rent where you will find workspaces thoughtfully designed for a variety of needs, like focused privacy, easier collaboration, comfort seating and eventhe quality of fresh air. Life Time Work focuses on whole health, which will lead to improved performance at work. They feel that by connecting with the energy of others in the Life Time Work space, that you will nourish your mind and challenge your goals.
Now, Life Time has announced that they will be launching Life Time Living, which will debut in 2020. Set to launch next year in Miami and Las Vegas, with Dallas following soon after, they are building residences that combine functional space, luxurious amenities and the latest in in-home technology.
Life Time feels (and is betting on) all of these extensions to their brand as natural fits – truly becoming a lifestyle brand. A little bit of a stretch, but all still feeling very much centered around health and well-being.
Microsoft Body Wash
Another example is Microsoft. They launched a new gaming system called Xbox in 2001. It was the much anticipated debut of a gaming console after Atari lost its luster. The Xbox game everyone got their hands on, Halo, was a huge success. Today, consumers can go to any big box retailer or purchase online one of over a dozen different types of Xbox consoles depending on their gaming needs. Xbox is a brand that has withstood the test of time and has continued to fulfill teenage boys’ needs. And speaking of teanage boys’ needs………
This summer, Xbox decided to extend their brand into gaming oriented personal care products. The Xbox brand will foray into men’s toiletries including body spray, shower gel and deodorant. Microsoft is teaming up with Unilever to launch this new Xbox/Lynxcollaboration. These products, which will only be sold in Australia and New Zealand, will be available starting in July. “Now, powering up can be as simple as a quick spray before you head out the door” said the Business Group Lead for Xbox Australia.
This extension seems very much of a stretch, and we will see if Fortnite players will be applying Xbox deodorant between combat missions.
Two brands with different ideas of how to extend. Obviously, there are times when a brand is trying to develop a product pipeline. Then there are brands that are trying to be Instagram worthy and bring news to their brand. Regardless, Brand Managers need to make sure that they aren’t setting up their brand for failure. One thing we know for sure is that these brands have brand loyalists that are willing to try new products from their trusted brand. I’m just not sure how far each of these brands can stretch before that rubber band breaks.