Fitness Marketing Law #12 The Law of Extension: Businesses tend to feel the urge to extend the equity (stake) of a brand. They develop a successful brand and then naturally start to think of line extensions to broaden their name and increase profits. What many businesses fail to see is that they cannot be everything to everyone. In other words, just because one product is successful does not mean a line extension will have the same result. As a fitness entrepreneur it’s important to establish your brand and be strong somewhere than to develop too many side products and be weak everywhere.
A line extension uses a successful name of a product and uses it on a new product being launched. Example: A-1 is a great steak sauce that controls most of the steak business share for sauces. Many people are avoiding beef and eating chicken instead so A-1 developed, A-1 poultry sauce. The philosophy is that prospects know and love A-1 steak sauce so they will feel the same towards the poultry sauce. But as stated in the law of perception, marketing is a battle of perception in the prospect’s mind. The perception in the prospect’s mind is that A-1 is not the brand, but the sauce itself. How many people actually say, “pass me the steak sauce; they say, “Pass me the A-1” and everyone knows what this means. Even with an $18 million advertising budget, A-1 poultry sauce failed.
The power of the brand does not help sell the new product. In fact, often times the brand is destroyed. Many times prospects are confused when companies offer line extensions of brand name products. In 1978, 7-Up owned 5.7% of the soda market. They offered line extensions including Cherry 7-Up and diet sodas causing their market share to drop to 2.5% by 1994. Almost every time, the leader of a category is the company who does not line-extend.
So why do companies continue to offer line extensions when evidence supports that it doesn’t work? Companies revert to the law of perspective where they receive short term success, even though the long term effect is negative. Marketing managers are also bewildered by prospect’s loyalty to a brand so they believe the same loyalty will be honored to the line extension.
The philosophy that more is better has not proven to be accurate and can cause a company to become oblivious and fail. If you want to be successful in the fitness business you need focus on building a solid foundation in the prospect’s mind. Establish your brand, be first in the prospect’s mind like in the law of leadership or create an alternative as in the law of the opposite, but don’t set yourself up for failure believing line extension is the easy way out.
Stay tuned for Fitness Marketing Law #13 The Law of Sacrifice.
Great post Sam. Now I see why you were hesitant about me adding the nutrition program – it’s possibly a negative line extension from my core product. But you can sometimes sell additional products to your core customers once you have them in, so let’s see how it goes.