Resist the temptation to stretch your brand

Informative article by Ted Matthews in Canadian Business Online, who describes the pitfalls of getting away from your core business and brand, and launching into sister ventures that seem appealing but only prove to be a costly lesson in poor judgment. The guidelines you instinctively use to make yourself the best in your business – core purpose, clear and single-minded vision, market position – get stretched when trying to apply them to a new venture where the current competition is better. Ted provides a case in point:

“For Cam Heaps, president of Steam Whistle Brewing, a Toronto-based microbrewer, this insight came the hard way. Recently asked for the best lesson he had learned from his family’s earlier venture with Upper Canada Brewing Co., Heaps answered: “Do one type of beer, one brand, and do it well.” He was referring to Upper Canada’s brand-extension mistake of trying to drive sales by coming out with new beers, new names and new campaigns on a regular basis. Heaps and his team lost focus on their original product, and missed opportunities to reinforce it, because new product launches meant constantly having to start anew at every level and discipline of the firm. Their loss of focus ultimately led to Upper Canada’s 1998 sale to rival Sleeman Breweries Ltd. of Guelph, Ontario.”

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