Effective Branding: Growing Brands with The Brand Circle

A model, developed by Hugh Davidson and discussed in the book “Offensive Marketing: An Action Guide to Gaining Competitive Advantage” that he co-authored together with Warren Keegan. The model describes how far a brand can be stretched, before you actually do harm to it. An interesting concept for those heavily involved with portfolio management and those who manage rapidly growing brands.

The Brand Circle identifies 4 zones:

  1. The Inner Core – formed by the products that exist around the core of a brand’s identity; the critical elements that define what a brand is all about – this could be a flavor, an ingredient, a unique design feature, a technology promise, a certain comfort or convenience, a usage feature etc.
  2. The Outer Core – this zone is formed by extensions that are accepted by an audience, driven by market demand or logical extensions that although retain associations are not closely associated to the core anymore.
  3. The Extension Zone – this zone is formed by products that take the brand in new and different product (or service) categories without doing harm to the brand. Products need to be of extreme quality in this zone.
  4. The No-Go Area – these are the boundaries, beyond which a brand should not be stretched. They define what kind of brand stretch actually harms a brand. It’s good to regularly review and identify these no-go areas.

Some additional thoughts from us:

  • Grow a brand steadily – It’s difficult to be everything to everyone from day one. When you launch your brand focus on your strengths, own those and over time gradually expand organically.
  • The size of the circle and its boundaries are not fixed. These grow based on a brand’s strength, reputation and collective perception – the stronger and more established a brand is, the larger your brand’s circle can be stretched. Make sure you periodically review your brand’s circle.
  • Last, but not least keep in mind: it’s all about creating superior user value. You can shift your inner core through innovations to find value in new ways – letting you shift and move your brand’s circle. Great brands are agile and move constantly, always seeking for best ways to deliver value. Since needs and preferences constantly change, so should your brand’s core to stay relevant.

read more about the brand circle via below links:
https://www.eurib.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Documenten/PDF/Brand_stretching_ENGELS/w_-_De_Brand_Circle_van_Davidson__EN_.pdf
https://vandewerk.nl/brand-circle-getting-your-brand-just-right/

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