Tuesday, April 3

Pet Head

Every Brand Manager knows that a big part of their marketing job is to build a new products pipeline, particularly in the consumer products industry.  Consumers and retail distributors both want to constantly know what's new and next.  A new products pipeline breaths life into the brand's future growth.

But how and where to expand the brand is at the crux of marketing.  There are so many "rules" ...  like staying within brand equity, not upsetting your loyal customers, and making sure there's enough latent demand to make the extension instantly successful.

So I always find it interesting when a brand expands in a way that's a bit unexpected.  Like Bed Head ... the line of hair care products that, shall we say, has an edge ... products that let you self express with different looks for your hair.  Or at least that's my perception.  I'm a follower of the brand but even I was a bit shocked at first to find a display of the brand's newest range at a local specialty beauty retailer.

Pet Head.   A line of "hair care" products for "cool" dogs ... sold right along side upscale hair care products for us people!  It's a line extension that's a bit brave at first glance.  Right on a huge end aisle display!

I can hear the boardroom conversations now:  "Will it upset our loyal users?"  "Will it make our base line look like it's low quality?"  "Will consumers buy pet products at a specialty beauty retailer?"

Now I've worked on a few brands in my day where I tried to convince the Brand Manager to expand into pet goods ... couldn't get them to budge despite the consumer logic and the (almost) instant incremental revenue.  Every one of them thought it would "denigrate" the brand.  So as I stared at that display, I started to smile and realized that Pet Head was quite brilliant.

Pet owners treat their dogs as children, or at least the ones willing to spend money certainly do.  And many of them style them up, just as much as they style up their children.  So why not have a "beauty parlor" brand for dogs that allows their owners to express themselves?  Quite brilliant actually.  Why not give dog owners a way to pamper their pups, just like they enjoy pampering themselves?

Too daring?  What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect and The Experience Effect for Small Business
Professor, NYU

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