Overview: What Is Brand Extension?

A robust brand extension strategy is essential to prosper and maintain relevance in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace. In some ways, brand extension represents the most efficient and logical way to achieve profitable brand growth, yet many companies struggle with how far to stretch. Play it too safe and the likely result will be close-in, ho-hum line extensions that underwhelm customers and are short-lived in the market. Stray too far from your brand’s core positioning and you risk diluting valuable equity.

The Components of Effective Brand Extension

In order to be successful when extending brands, it is important to make sure you are remaining true to your positioning and what you stand for. However, while respecting guardrails and protecting equity is imperative, it's also important to view brands as a source of inspiration for innovation and new product development. When considering possible paths for extension, it is important to look at brands across multiple dimensions—not just tangible attributes (such as product categories and usage occasions), but intangible dimensions as well (e.g., persona and emotional benefits).

Brand Extension & Growth



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Questions Addressed
  • Which brand attributes represent the most lucrative opportunities for extension/growth?
  • What are brands’ “bounds of extendibility”— territories that should be considered off limits?
  • Which brand-centric growth opportunities are the most financially lucrative for the business?
Typical Challenges
  • The brand’s positioning and key attributes are not as well understood as they should be
  • Finding intersections between “big ideas” and opportunities that are consistent with brand positioning
  • The temptation to play it safe by resorting to close-in, “flavor of the month” line extensions
Ensuring Success
  • Thinking big; considering the brand as a source for inspiration and transformational growth
  • Considering both tangible and intangible attributes of the brand as means for extension
  • Identifying a balanced portfolio of extensions (i.e., both conservative and transformational)

Featured Work


Case Study: American Family Insurance

How We Created a Comprehensive Brand-Driven Growth Roadmap

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