What makes a brand grow?

Previously in this series we looked at what exactly makes a brand successful, stand out, connect, consistent and reputable. How can you now implement the knowledge gained and build on this foundation to ensure that your brand keeps growing, evolving with the times and staying relevant? In this post I will discuss four strategic decisions to consider when the time comes to grow your brand, how to identify the growth strategy best suited to your brand, how to launch a new brand, look at endorsements and ultimately predict a future growth strategy.

The four brand building decisions (Claessens: 2015) are: brand positioning (attributes, benefits, beliefs and values), brand name selection (selection and protection), brand sponsorship (manufacturer’s brand, private brand, licensing and co-branding) and brand development (line extensions, brand extensions, multi-brands and new brands). In order for you to decide where to focus your efforts, there is an easy tool you can use to identify the various growth strategies available. In the video below, lecturer Charles Richardson discusses the 4 strategies of the widely used Market Expansion Grid tool (also called the Ansoff Matrix) that an organisation can use to implement brand growth strategies.

Video: Market Expansion Grid

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyJLde4edR4&feature=youtu.be

In short, a brand can either focus their energies on:

  1. Selling more existing product to the existing client base through market penetration
  2. Selling more existing product to a new client base through market development
  3. Selling new products to existing customers through product development
  4. Selling new products to new customers through diversification
The Market Expansion Grid (Source: http://product2market.walkme.com/product-market-expansion-grid-explained)

Once a brand growth strategy has been established the brand owners can look into launching this new brand. First, establish whether it would be beneficial for the new brand to be housed and marketed under an existing name in your brand portfolio, how the already established brands will be impacted by the new brand, and how clarity can be reached in both the company and the market about the new brand. Considering the time and financial impact involved in marketing and advertising, the brand owners should be thorough and level-headed when strategising.

Another element that should be considered when building a brand is endorsements, where one brand (the new brand name) essentially piggy-backs on another (the existing brand name). This strategy creates a streamlined approach to establish the newer brand by having the already established brand endorse it.

Sony as an example of how a brand can make use of endorsements to its advantage.  Source: https://za.pinterest.com/hntmatthews/brand-architecture/

Let’s now apply the theory practically by way of example. Estee Lauder, founded in 1946 in New York City, USA  is a prominent global marketer and manufacturer of a very large brand portfolio of high-end makeup, perfume, hair- and skin care, including giants like MAC, Clinique and DKNY. There is, however, a gap in the market (as while Estee Lauder do content that they do not willingly test on animals, they inevitably have to, by law, if they want to be able to sell in countries like China) for a new, animal friendly and environmentally sustainable yet high quality product brand under the Estee Lauder umbrella. By creating a new, small, range of the tried-and-loved daily basics (like foundation, lipstick, eyeliner, brushes and mascara) in the same quality we expect from the parent company, but with a huge emphasis on anti-cruelty practices a whole new customer base can be tapped. This article estimates that 72% of Americans oppose animal testing and that indicates a potentially huge new customer base.

By ensuring the visual and verbal language of this new brand is clear, that it is positioned and differentiated properly, that it connects with its customers and is consistent and reputable, Estee Lauder can grow into an even bigger power-house than it already is. Announcing through a toned-down marketing campaign that this new range will only be available in countries where animal testing is illegal/not in practice, and teaming up with global activist groups (like Beauty without Cruelty in South Africa) the new brand can stand-alone quite easily. There is of course competition in the forms of brands like Elf and NYX, but with a giant behind it it can easily become the brand to beat.

The difficult aspect, when we do not have any real know-how of the inner workings of the parent brand, is how this new brand could potentially influence the existing brands and if the risk is worth the potential growth. This might be the exact reason why a range like this has not been launched by Estee Lauder. In this specific example we very briefly touched on brand development through new brands, diversification and endorsements.

In this post we looked at four growth strategy decisions to consider, how to identify the growth strategy best suited to your brand, how to launch a new brand, we looked at endorsements and predicted a future growth strategy by using the practical, hypothetical example of creating a new brand under the Estee Lauder umbrella. Hopefully you can now apply the knowledge gained  to ensure that your brand becomes a success and keeps growing, evolving with the times and staying relevant.


Claessens, M. 2015. Branding Decisions – 4 Brand Strategy Decisions to Build Strong Brands. https://marketing-insider.eu/branding-decisions/

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