Martha Stewart’s brand has a problem.
It’s just too confusing, reports Hadley Malcolm at USA Today.
Once, her brand was synonymous with a few specific areas of expertise—decorating, cooking, crafts, gardening and a couple more. But now, the Martha Stewart brand has branched out as far as home office materials.
“If you ask 50 people what the Martha Stewart brand stood for, you’d get a lot of different answers, which is not really what a brand is all about,” Michael Stone, CEO of brand licensing agency Beanstalk, told Malcolm.
The Martha Stewart name has way too many areas of supposed competency. While that diversification could be a big plus for the brand, it also presents threats. For instance, it’s dangerous that her products are being sold in so many places now. The stores may not match the image that the Martha Stewart brand wants to be associated with.
Take its latest forays into PetSmart and Staples. Those names don’t add any value to the brand, and are purely revenue grabbing moves. Selling Martha Stewart products at Michael’s, Jo-Ann Fabric and Home Depot fits perfectly with the brand.
Its marketers must be wary of losing believability. At what point will consumers stop identifying brand extensions with Martha’s name? She can’t be an expert at everything.
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