History is littered with the tales of brand extensions that soared wildly and failed miserably. Nobody can deny the genius of Colgate toothpaste entering the toothbrush market or Apple entering the mobile phone market, but where a few have succeeded, so, so many have failed (we’re looking at you Virgin Brides wedding dresses and Cosmopolitan yogurt).
In order for a brand extension to be successful, it must be a natural extension of your category and brand promise and identity. However, a surefire extension of any brand can be content and compared to traditional brand extensions, content is much more affordable to produce.
But how can content be considered a brand extension? In the usual sense, it is not. But if you consider content just another product, then it certainly can be. Content that is useful to customers is a good that you produce, and while they may not be paying you directly for it, the right content can go a long way to drive brand awareness and consideration.
When you start to think of content as a product, your business will start to treat it as such and begin to devote the appropriate resources to developing it. Just like any other product development cycle, there will be a learning curve and patience must be employed by the content creators and leadership team, since it will take time for a content push to result in leads for your business.
In order to successfully deploy content as a product, the general rules of product extensions must be followed. For starters, your content must target the same segment as your core products in order to be successful. Your content product must also be clearly distinguished from your product marketing, be in on a different section of your site or a separate site entirely, in order for users to not associate it with a simple advertising push.
Your content can associate it itself with your products, but must not do so in a pushy or overt way; the connection must be subtle. Finally, your business must be all-in on content and be prepared for it to be a long-term endeavor to be successful.
Content marketing is a powerful tool that any company can deploy to reach and create goodwill among its audience. If companies start to think of content more as extensions of their core products rather than a necessary evil, they will start to have the right mindset when it comes to developing and devoting resources to their content products. After all, the old adage still holds true: content is still king.