STAR’S UNHEALTHY BRAND EXTENSION
The success of a product often motivates companies to ‘do more’, to unleash newer sub-brands most times into the same category or sub-category. Only to realize in the long run that these extensions were bobby traps which become curated, and have their place on the Hall of Fame of the worst marketing decisions ever made.
A case in point is Indomie Noodles who started trying out new variants of noodles-Oriental, Pepper Chicken, Onions etc. and as much as these products had social acceptability and were even regarded as innovative by some, it was unable to shield itself from one of the sinister of brand extension-Share of attention, and these products became relegated overtime. Indomie was and is still a market leader but market leadership doesn’t exclude a brand from the rational choices of the consumer.
Star Lager Beer which is arguably the major cash cow and possibly the most successful of the brands housed by the Nigerian Breweries is presently experiencing a marketing jab which could lead to its great loss in share if not properly dealt with.
When NB launched Star Lite in 2014, it had a very strong Ad and marketing backing so much so that the country was literally painted with Star Lite and many consumers did try it but it seemed as if as the Ad began to decline the demand for the product started waning and moving in reverse. One would have expected that NB would take cue from this and focus on Star Lager Beer but early this year, NB introduced Star Triple X into a market they once thought needed ‘Lite’ but now you give them ‘Xtra’. Truth is, report might show that these products cater for different segments of the market but guts tells that there cannot be multiple captains in a ship.
The Coca Cola Company introduced Diet coke into the Nigerian market when there arose claims from consumers that Coca Cola had too much sugar content. But after a while the product disappeared from the market why because the same consumers still wanted their “sugary” Coca cola.
Recently NB has also added Star Radler into a market that is apparently tight, neck-breaking and is been poached daily by brands both in its category and other similar segments. Is this possibly to offset the burden on Star Lager Beer? I think not. Will this meet the increasing wants of the consumer? I think not too.
Keeping the lead brand alive cannot be achieved by extending it, in fact the extensions hastens it death.
Al Tries and Trout once noted that when a company becomes incredibly successful, it invariably plants the seed for its future problems. This is because they find it had to control the urge and resist the pressure to extend the equity of the brand.
It shouldn’t be a surprise it these extensions begin to retrogress and possibly go into extinction in less than three years if care is not taking. Because extending a brand or introducing a product goes beyond its short term gain, but what becomes of the brand in the long run.
Star Lager beer has independently endured challenging seasons, extending it won’t shield it from the present storm, instead it should be strengthened to a point that it can adapt to the current marketing realities and demands.