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Should You Extend Your Product into a Product Line?

50 second read time

Jul 16, 2020 | Featured, Positioning

If you have (or hope to have) a product whose name has replaced the generic name, don’t try to extend that success by turning your product into a product line.

Band-Aid, Kleenex, ChapStick

So say the experts on positioning. (Although it’s important to note that Positioning was originally published in 1980.)

These days most successful products have extended into lines full of variations and related items.

This means that if someone asks you to buy them a ChapStick, you have to ask what kind. The only way to answer that question is to look at all the options, opening the door to the possibility that the answer could be Blistex (a rival product).

Perhaps the lesson to be learned with these brands is that they waited long enough for the name to become solidly rooted in our minds before muddying the waters with product lines. Only time will tell us if they made the right call.

To make your brand name stand for the generic… is the essence of positioning.

— Al Ries & Jack Trout

Find out why Ries & Trout advise against product lines in their book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.

Ries, Al, and Jack Trout. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1986. Print.