Brand Aligned Product Extension – It’s not Rocket Surgery
There’s no doubt product line extension is critically important to engage with an increasingly splintering consumer market. For many brands, going to market with the same handful of products with broad appeal is a sure recipe for declining market share. So why do so many businesses find combining product extension strategy and brand strategy more challenging than walking and chewing gum?
Recently Australian Brewer; Coopers launched a new product line – ‘Coopers Clear’ – to the market. Clearly the product has been developed to appeal to a new target audience, and just as clearly that audience isn’t me as I’ve no idea of the value proposition from the visual cues of the packaging or the messaging in their ad campaign. What is Coopers Clear, how is it different and why should I try it are just three questions left unanswered by the product launch. But for me the biggest question of all is; why does this new product look like a generic niche beer trying to tap-into a short term trend from one of the big multi-brand brewers, and not like a new beer from Coopers?
Over many years Coopers have very successfully built their brand on the authenticity that can only come from a family of brewers ‘making beer by hand’. Their whole (and successful) brand strategy has been about leveraging their heritage to counter the advertising and business muscle of the big, corporate beer brands. The visual language of their packaging design, the shape and colour of their bottles, their choice of font, photography style, visual cues and tone of voice of their advertising campaigns have always been a case study in creating a powerful brand presence that connects authentically and consistently engages with their loyal customers.
All of which is why I’m floored by this latest departure from their brand. For me the latest product, packaging design and ad campaign reflect a disconnect with everything the Coopers brand stands for. It’s like it has been developed in isolation from the thinking and soul that has formed and directed the Coopers brand so successfully. I can’t see the new product and campaign hitting the mark with Coopers consumers, but worst of all, this out of character launch campaign will undermine the Coopers brand positioning. Nothing leads to brand disengagement quite like feeling your brand had been disloyal. Whilst consistency and authenticity are what’s made the Coopers brand great – the only thing Clear about this latest campaign is that it undermines both of those brand attributes.