I’m often amazed why some brands need to be selling everything under the sun.
Usually at the fault of Senior Management, spurred on by Finance Directors, you’ll see all sorts of irrelevant items thrust under your nose, in their hope that you’ll shed a few more pennies at the checkout till.
Too often, brand destinies are at the mercy of the balance sheet trying to get all the figures going one way – up.
This ‘all in’ approach works only temporarily, as slowly the DNA of the brand is weakened with every cross-sell that is trying to be achieved. Customers now find themselves asking “remind me, why did I go into this shop again?!…” as the original product message is lost by the wayside.
Soon enough, a raw and passionate start-up competitor will recapture the minds and hearts of the customers, but by this point the damage has already been done:
The Virgin Megastore chain were cross-selling many items, I remember at one point they were even doing toys and confectionery. Some say trying to be like…
Woolworths, whom were stocking everything from books to bathroom fittings…
I don’t need to tell you where these two ended up.
What can’t be seen behind a plush desk in a head office is that invisible lines are drawn around which brand you choose for which products. Once these lines are drawn, they are notoriously hard to bend or twist. And why would you even want to? – customers are now the champions of brands, not the management, and can dictate the destiny.
Shoving some penny sweets under your customer’s noses in the final approach to the checkout till may help turnover in the short term, but it certainly makes that expensive dress they’re looking to buy feel a lot ‘cheaper’ by association.
I will however concede a few brand anomalies, and these are both related to the positioning and how they were pitched to us originally.
Spread over 150 companies, Richard Branson doesn’t take himself seriously, and neither do we if one of his new ventures doesn’t hit the ground running (Virgin Cola). If anything, it makes the ones that do succeed (like Virgin Atlantic, Rail, Media or Money) all the more pleasurable to deal with, knowing that we’re on board with his journey.
They need no introductions here with the success of the Search Engine, Analytics, Maps, YouTube, Chrome browser etc, but even they can fail – let’s not mention Google+ or Buzz (Google’s version of Twitter, which was pulled earlier this year!).
So unless you’ve pitched your brand as a ‘jack of all trades’ then I suggest you stick to one thing, and be the best at it – simple.