There is a downside to being a brand.

Yes, brands stand for something.

So this means that they matter more to consumers.

And therefore they attract more attention.

And more customers.

So they have the potential to last longer.

And (run right) make more profit.

But even after all that good stuff.

There is a downside to being a brand.

Here & There.


Just because a brand works (resonates) ‘here’.

It doesn’t mean it will work (resonate) ‘there’.

In fact, it is very often the case that because a brand resonates ‘here’ it will not resonate ‘there’.

The short version of the rule is this.

If you are a brand, you matter.

And whatever it is you matter about.

Dictates where you (should) work best.


Let’s take the Virgin brand for example.

Virgin stands for ‘The People’s Champion’.

Over the years, Virgin has nurtured the perception that they are looking out for us.

That they are on our side.

And because they have delivered on this promise enough times over the years to keep the brand resonant in this way.

They do hold this perception with very many people.

Even today.

The Rules. 

But the rules of brand dictate that even global brands like Virgin.

Only work where the brand position resonates.

Virgin really should work well in the banking sector.

Because banks treat us like crap.

I can ‘feel’ that Virgin should do well as a bank.

And when Virgin went at trains.

I was pleased.

Because the Virgin brand resonates in the train category, too.

Because – just like banks – train companies treat us like crap, as well.

(Virgin aren’t doing so well with trains.

But it’s not because of the brand’s perception, I’d suggest.

It’s because they are failing to get the operational parts right.

Or because they are failing to do the right deal.

For whatever reason).

Virgin Cola.

But Virgin’s brand.

As famous as it was.

Didn’t work in the Cola category.

Yes, Coca Cola and to a lesser degree Pepsi Cola took steps to block Virgin.

But a brand that stands for ‘The People’s Champion’ was never going to work in this space.

Because we just didn’t need saving from Coke and Pepsi at the time.

The Virgin brand didn’t resonate here.

Brand Extension.

If you really do crave brand extension that much.

If you really do want to do new things.

But you realise that your current brand won’t resonate in the new category.

Start a new brand that will.

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