Negative Impact of Unsuccessful Brand Extension

It’s a well-accepted mantra that innovation holds the key to business success. But what happens when an enterprise takes a leap of faith, extends their brand into a new domain, and it flops? The consequences can actually be pretty severe. Let’s delve deeper into the negative impacts of unsuccessful brand extensions.

Brand Extension Failures: Overview

Unsuccessful brand extension isn’t just about financial losses but also about depreciating your brand’s appeal and credibility in the eyes of consumers. Brand extension essentially refers to the strategic management practice of leveraging an established brand name for a new product or service in an unrelated category. It can range from cola giants karting into apparel line to high-end retailers selling designer water bottles. However, when mismanaged, this attempt at expanding market share can backfire severely. Statistically speaking, the failure rate within the first two years can be as high as 80-90% in the consumer packaged goods industry.

Decreased Brand Equity

Perhaps one of the most significant consequences is the decrease in brand equity. This term refers to the added value that a renowned name brings to a product. Brand equity encompasses various dimensions, such as perceived quality, brand awareness, and associations related to that brand. A poorly thought-out or executed extension can devalue these elements, causing irreversible damage. Marketers suggest that 20-30% of unsuccessful brand extensions lead to substantial erosion in original brand equity.

The issue of brand equity dilution arises when your extended product doesn’t align with you core brand values.

Weakening of Brand Image

An unsuccessful extension can lead to a weakening of your otherwise strong brand image–the mental picture that springs up in consumers’ minds when your brand is mentioned. For instance, if a high-quality chocolate brand introduces a low-priced candy line extension that turns out to be mediocre in taste, it could tarnish their reputation for being a premium chocolate producer. The study done on “Negative Effects of Brand Extension” reports that around 61% of consumers experience confusion when the extension does not align with the parent brand. This, in turn, decreases their likelihood to purchase either product.

Reduced Trust and Credibility

When an extension missteps, it’s not just the new product that fails; trust in your overall brand can also diminish. A failed launch can result in up to 20% decrease in customer loyalty scores for the original brand as customers start doubting your ability to deliver quality products.

Dilution of Brand Meaning

Your brand represents certain core values and beliefs. These are embedded within its visual elements (such as logo, tagline) and internal ethos. The introduction of unrelated or conflicting products can dilute this meaning – causing dissonance within customers’ minds about what you stand for. Imagine a luxury car manufacturer trying to extend into budget vehicles–wouldn’t that create a disconnect?

Risk of Increased Competition

Unsuccessful extensions can inadvertently lead to increased competition by opening up new avenues for competitors to venture into. If you failed at introducing a new product category, your competition might seize this opportunity and succeed where you couldn’t. This reinforces their position while making yours weaker.

Factors Leading to Unsuccessful Extensions

Certain catalysts precipitate unsuccessful brand extensions: Poor market research before launching an extension, lack of coherence between core brand values and the extended product’s features or pricing, incorrect branding marketing strategy such as poor advertising or promotional channels, and confusion between the umbrellas and sub-brands. Remarkably, unsuccessful brand extensions can lead to an average of 5-10% loss in original product’s market share.


To sum it up, unsuccessful brand extensions pose a real risk not just to the concerned product but also to your overall brand image. In your quest to grow, ensure you’re not diluting your brand’s core with misaligned extensions because doing so, as statistics suggest, could cost you much more than just sales figures.

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