Thursday, September 4, 2008

Brand extensions vs Brand new names

For starters, here are some thoughts by some of the world's leading strategy gurus on the value of brand extensions. Keeping that in mind, the next question I'd like to ask is why did Google choose not to extend their all powerful, all knowing brand into the browser space? (Actually, I think they'll end up doing just that without even trying.)

Perhaps Google knows what a powerful brand it is and therefore doesn't feel the need to extend it any further and dilute the existing equity - there's a school of thought that believes most brand extensions only end up eating into the value of the original brand. Maybe the folks at Google weren't so sure of their prospects in the browser space and so decided to hedge their bets by going in for a brand new name for their browser.

In case 'Chrome' fails, brand name 'Google' doesn't end up paying too heavily for it. On the other hand, if it succeeds everyone will remember it as Google's latest killer application. Therefore, the quick conclusion I am forced to arrive at is - and I urge my fellow namer to share with us his take on it - the browser space is a bit different from the other application spaces and needs a standalone brand. Am I right in deducing so?

Browsers are like 'fast moving consumer goods' (FMCGs) that demand a more individual naming strategy, whereas most other Google applications are like Business-to-Business (B2B) offerings that can be named generically and tagged on to the parent brand. Check out how Google has chosen to name some of its other products and do share your conclusions with us.

Fact is, choosing to go with a brand extension or a brand new name is a complex exercise that cannot be explored in full out here. But a richly nuanced discussion on the same can most certainly be hosted. The floor is open.