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SC Johnson and Brand Extension

In February, I wrote about how to maintain focus and avoid brand extension by creating a new brand name. Now Laura Ries examines SC Johnson and its line of shaving care products.

SC Johnson's highly successful male-oriented brand of shave gels is Edge. Ries praises SC Johnson for opting for a separate brand, Skintimate, when it introduced a line of shave gels for women.

I am not sure whether introducing a separate brand was all that important in this case. What did "Edge" mean in the mind of the consumer? Would introducing "Edge for Women" have undermined the existing Edge brand? Sometimes line extension dilutes the brand, and we need to be cognizant of this fact. Even more undesirable, however, is undermining the original brand. I'm not sure if "Edge for Women" would have undermined the original meaning of "Edge" in the consumer's mind.

Ries writes that "Edge" originally meant "gel" in the consumer's mind. While the idea of a shave gel for women doesn't undermine this meaning, trying to extend the Edge brand into shaving cream does. So she recommends that SC Johnson, if it really wants to diverge from the gel category, should attempt to create a new brand name and a new category instead of extending the Edge brand. Seems like sound advice to me.

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