The fact that individual brands may be identified with certain characteristics, while a strength in most respects, also poses challenges to marketers, both in the ability to extend the brand to new products and to protect a brand’s image in the face of such extensions. What would happen to your view of Rolex if its makers decided to offer an “economy timepiece” (think Timex)? How do you feel about Hyundai’s efforts to enter the luxury car market, competing against the likes of Lexus and Cadillac?
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Vanessa Fuhrmans takes not of the fact that since automaker Porsche was absorbed into the Volkswagen organization, it has produced and sold more SUVs and sedans than sports cars – Boxters, 911s, Carrerras, and Caymans – the vehicles that have gotten hearts pumping for years and worked their way on to midlife bucket lists.
1. Why do you think VW/Porsche has been successful in extending its brand to Cayenne (SUVs) and Panamera (4-door sedans)? What is it about Porsche’s brand image that allowed it to transfer to family vehicles?
2. In the wake of that success, why should Porsche’s marketing execs begin major investments in supporting its sports car image, particularly when the potential market for uber-expensive sports cars is both small and crowded with competitors?
3. Based on Fournier’s paper on brand relationships (listed among the background readings), as well as this case example, what general lessons do you see for managing brand/product extensions?