"On the rise since late 90s, the trend of brand extension started off as a marketing stint. The trend not only divides the marketing costs over a multitude of products but also gives the brands an opportunity to foray into other product categories or industries. It also allows them to create a new image in the consumer psyche using the reach of existing brand image."
On the rise since late 90s, the trend of brand extension started off as a marketing stint. The trend not only divides the marketing costs over a multitude of products but also gives the brands an opportunity to foray into other product categories or industries. It also allows them to create a new image in the consumer psyche using the reach of existing brand image.
A single destination for all consumer demands
Brand extension occurs on different levels. Brands first trudge safer boundaries through basic line extensions with extended-size collections or capsules. They then expand the product level by adding new ranges before finally foraying into adjacent industries such as homeware and beauty. Plus-size collections, disguised as a step towards inclusive fashion, are deemed as successful line extensions for Nike, Adidas, Macy’s and Target. Similarly, departmental all solution stores such as Primark started retailing licensed products for popular character inspired clothing, giving media an outlet to promote their entertainment ventures as and when they launched.
Several extensions can be created to cater to the masses providing them a single destination to fulfill all their demands. Ralph Lauren is one of the biggest and most successful instances as they harnessed the brand reputation to extend into Polo Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, and more, to cater to multiple consumer segments.
High fashion retailer Armani is yet another brand to provide a lifestyle solution as they operated through Giorgio Armani Privé, Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani (including EA7), Armani Junior, and Armani Exchange, after announcing the closing of Armani Collezioni and Armani Jeans. It later on explored hospitality with the launch of Armani hotels that offer detailed Armani branded experiences right down to the last throw pillows and night lamps.
Products with a more intrinsic value
Studies by statista.com shows the furniture and homeware segment is inviting brands to offer products that hold more intrinsic value than a piece of clothing. Fendi, Gucci, Armani, Loewe and La DoubleJ have started their own furniture lines that provide the same brand factor to consumers on an extended level as a luxury wallpaper will span a season while a skirt is worn maximum twice. Furniture giant Ikea has collaborated with celebrated designer Virgil Abloh for a limited edition furnishing line that was sold out within days of its launch.
Fast-fashion and discount retailers are also launching their homeware range with the introduction of Zara Home by Inditex in 2003. Kidswear brands like Rachel Riley and Noe & Zoe are extending their categories to offer homeware ranges to help parents transform their kids’ wardrobes as well as living space. Multi-brand retailers and large format stores are also delving into the segment as Walmart launched a series of virtual showrooms online, while Asos recruited designers to create textiles, ceramics and hard goods for its first own-brand homeware collection.
Collaborations for technical advancements
Several brands are collaborating with players to use their expertise while adding technical advancement to the mix. Levi’s collaborated with tech stalwart Google to unveil a high tech jacket that provides the wearer the convenience of controlling smartphone features with basic arm movements with recent edition, Project Jacquard featuring ride-sharing support via Uber and Lyft.
. Thus, brands are providing a one-stop store solution to acquire a stake in the rapidly diversifying market and exploit new trends with the added advantage of being distinguished from the existing competition.