Brand Impatience at Special K

January 29, 2007

Brand extension is about relevance and patience. Relevance is the most vital filter in new product consideration as it forces you to ask, ìdoes my brand fit?î  Patience is that trait in which you can see a vision for the future of your brand while allowing for time to build towards that vision by expanding your relevance.

Expanding too soon and too far (i.e. being impatient) will undermine relevance and can ultimately destroy the broad brand vision you are looking to create.

Starbucks, for example, had to establish relevance as a music retailer before they bought Hear Music and extended their brand into CDs and radio programming.  HP is another example, turning printing and imaging credibly into relevance in digital cameras and related photography offerings. 

At the other end of the spectrum, todayís poster child for impatience: Special K.  Kelloggís has long sought to leverage Special Kís healthy eating positioning into a lifestyle brand.  A few years ago they launched a line of womenís activewear, having identified ìwidespread potential, considering the broad distribution of the cereal.î  Somehow, that effort failed to take off as, curiously, active women failed to connect their beloved breakfast cereal with the clothes they like to wear to the gym. 

Special K Bottle

Go figure.Now Kelloggís seems to have again failed the patience test by extending Special K into water, Special K2O Protein Water, to be precise.  Flavors include Strawberry Kiwi, Tropical Blend and Extra Crunchy.

The press release for the new line, which also includes snack bars and meal bars, mentions that water ìplay[s] an important role throughout each day as [women] try to stay on track with their weight management goals.î  Thus, the release continues, ìwater was a logical place for us to explore." Right.

Patience, Grasshopper.   

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