How to extend and not dilute your brand
Making sure you don't dilute your brand image is a primary concern when brands are omnipresent across many channels.
While brands can use a similar slogan or grow around their visual stimuli, using too many different spokespeople or themes can dilute what people associate with a brand. A company's brand, just like your personal brand, is built over time. By using too many different associations, it can become confusing for people receiving the message and diffuse the original message.
A brand that has managed to expand itself, without diluting its brand image, is Nike. All spokespeople stand for the same message, "Just Do It." They also exemplify Nike's athletic image that sports are for everyone and that it's more about the attitude than a product. Nike continually builds on its brand with spots like "Find Your Greatness."
You could argue that Nike may be slightly diluted. It stands for all sports, not just soccer. It stands for all athletes, not just a particular sporting location. However, like Coca Cola, it stands for the attitude or feeling they create, but are for everyone sharing their values of perseverance.
A counter example is Geico, the insurance company, that has many different spokespeople from the Gecko, Googly Eyes, Flo, and caveman. While they all end with "It's easy to save 15% or more on car insurance with Geico," it can be hard to remember that all of the representatives are associated with the company.
They have transitioned to unexpected spots to contrast the expected good deal you can receive with them. The commercials are fun; I really like their sumo wrestler spot's entertainment value.
However, the new spots are loosely tied to the brand, just by the last call to action. They also may dilute their brand image by adding additional associations. By remaining with the same campaign and building on it, they may help solidify a particular image in the minds of consumers.
Lessons marketers can learn from these brands:
- By standing for everything, brands stand for nothing. There are very few exceptions to this rule, which manage to inherit properties from larger concepts. For example, Coca Cola represents happiness and Nike represents athletic prowess.
- Stay true to your brand's competency and promise. Be strategic with what you want associated with your brand and make sure it stays in line with your image.
- Design spots to relate more directly to your product. If the majority of the commercial is not related to the product, the ability for consumers to associate the two is diminished. The consumer may have great commercial recall but not brand recall.
How do you maintain your brand's image?