Tactics / Product Development
Following The Buzz

Overextending Your Brand

September 12, 2013
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As private label lines become more sophisticated, sometimes morphing into recognized brands, the question of what products to add to your lineup comes into question, especially for retailers with several private label tiers.

Starbucks Coffee Company recently announced a new joint venture with Danone to co-create a line of new, healthy specialty yogurt products. The move is expected to advance Starbucks’ health and wellness offerings for its customers under the company’s Evolution Fresh brand, with the parfait Greek yogurt products branded as “Evolution Fresh, Inspired by Dannon.”

Shoppers will see the yogurt in stores in spring 2014 and in grocery channels in 2015.

OK, so Starbucks wants to sell ready-to-eat parfait Greek yogurts and cash in on the growing Greek yogurt market. Makes sense… They sell coffee-flavored ice cream in supermarkets. Oh wait, they don’t.

“Starbucks ice cream is saying goodbye,” read the company’s website at time of press.

So maybe the expansion into coffee-flavored yogurt will be its new focus? Except…

“The products won’t necessarily be coffee flavored—we haven’t announced specific flavors—as this is more about Starbucks expanded selection of delicious and healthy yogurt parfaits in its stores and in grocery channels,” Linda Mills, senior manager, global brand PR, Starbucks, told me when I inquired about the new yogurt.

Personally, I expect Starbucks to produce coffee-flavored items because it’s a coffee chain. To me, this move seems like it will water down the brand. The Starbucks powerhouse will probably succeed, already offering yogurt in its stores, but keeping the core mission of your line in mind is important.

 Make sure you aren’t overreaching your brand and that every SKU in the line makes sense. If your brand isn’t instantly recognizable and understandable, it won’t help drive your overall presence.

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