Every great brand is like a great story.
—Kevin Plank, Founder/CEO of Under Armour
Breyer’s Girl Scout Thin Mints Ice Cream.
What a genius expansion of not–one–but–two–brands. Why did it do so well? First, Breyer’s already had related flavors: It considers mint chocolate chip, cookies and cream, and chocolate chip cookie dough among its classic flavors, so quality execution was never a concern. Of course, Girl Scouts’ Thin Mints are a much loved and highly anticipated yearly treat. Many devotees (you may be one of them) have said for years that the cookies are best when frozen. The perfect partnership for a winning Thin Mint Ice Cream. Using a successful marketing strategy, Breyer’s smartly created a demand by introducing the product as a limited edition—echoing the cookies’ famed limited availability.
However, for every Breyer’s-like smash, there’s a Colgate Lasagna. That’s right, the people who make toothpaste decided, for some still unknown reason, that it was a good idea to get into the TV dinners business, including lasagna. Because toothpaste and lasagna go nicely together? It was such a disaster that, sadly, there’s a box of it in the Museum of Failure.
Here are a few tips to point you towards thin mint success instead of toothpaste lasagna:
DO LOOK FOR RELATED PRODUCTS.
DON’T PUT YOUR BRAND ON SOMETHING, JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN.
Just because something is a good business opportunity, doesn’t mean it’s a good opportunity for your brand. Putting your brand on an unrelated product or service will confuse your customers and a lack of clarity in messaging can kill a brand.
As Wicked Bionic recommends, look for more specialized versions of products already in your line. Or things that are used as companions to your products. General Mills, the flour manufacturer, started “Betty Crocker” cookbooks. Then GM made Betty’s baking mixes and, later, kitchen utensils. The baking brand keeps adding products to help you better use their products. Brilliant.
DO LEVERAGE YOUR EXISTING BRAND BY BRINGING ADDED VALUE.
DON’T TAKE ON AN ESTABLISHED MARKET FOR NO REASON.
Colgate’s lasagna failed because there were already established lasagna brands. Therefore, Colgate’s brand didn’t help them gain a foothold in someone else’s market. But Colgate later decided to have a brand of toothbrushes. This made perfect sense: The people you trusted to care for your teeth, were delivering their product in a new way. A Colgate toothbrush immediately seemed more credible than other toothbrush manufacturers you’d never heard of—even if they’d been in the market longer. Once again, it just seems inevitable that they’d be in that product category, too.