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Brand Stretch Hall of Fame: Learning from the Best

It’s no secret that innovation is the lifeblood of growth for brands. According to Boston Consulting Group, nearly 80% of companies see innovation as a top-three priority and 66% plan to increase spending – in contrast to 2009 when fewer than two-thirds of companies ranked it as a top-three priority. 


Melinda Davis

VP of Strategy
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And yet…nearly 30,000 new products are introduced each year, and 95% of them fail. Considering the resources, brainpower and sheer will that goes into these efforts, that’s a pretty shocking statistic.

So how can so many get it so wrong? Or more so, how are those succeeding breaking through the barrier?

At Spicefire, our innovation process is built on 3 key tenets we believe drive successful brand stretch. We see how these principles repeatedly drive positive growth for the brands that get brand extension right. Their efforts are led by empathy, insight and creativity.
Photo courtesy: Alexis Fauvet on Unsplash

Inno Principle #1: Be Human-Centered: We listen first — uncovering rich human truths and translating insights into actionable *so what's*.

When you look at the long list of failures, it’s easy to see that many were products that people simply didn’t need. But Frida recognized an overlooked opportunity – effective care products for post-partum moms. It all started with an unsexy snot sucker, but Frida has grown into a mega-brand ‘that gets parents’. They solve real problems of parenthood by staying up close and personal with those actually on the journey – identifying pain points in the moment and developing ‘simple-yet-genius tools that get the job done’. When nearly every new product is met with a…finally someone thought of this! know you’re doing something right.
Frida brand stretch collage
Photo Courtesy: Frida
SF Perspective: Put the consumer at the heart of every effort. It's not enough to simply identify a target or segment, smart brands know their consumers intimately and live life alongside of them as their needs grow and evolve.

Inno Principle #2: Anchor in Brand Strategy: We believe strategically grounded brands birth authentic ideas with the power to meaningfully impact consumers’ lives.

It’s not always the groundbreaking ideas that become groundbreaking brands. Halo Top is a brand who knows exactly who they are (and who they aren’t) and they never waver from their core strategy. Launched as a low-calorie ice cream in an adorable package, they’ve since seamlessly grown into new categories such as baking and yogurt with an essence and story that’s undeniably theirs. While they’re not the first low-calorie snack to hit the shelves, they have won their way into the hearts of consumers who happily follow them from aisle to aisle.  
Halo Top cookie mix packaging
Photo Courtesy: Halo Top
SF Perspective: Stay true to the brand’s core. A brand’s unique strengths and ethos will guide an authentic path forward.

Inno Principle #3: Inspire with Creative Vision: We illustrate what the future could be, faster. Design is integrated into our iterative process from the very beginning.

assortment of Welly products illustrating brand stretch
Photo Courtesy:
Good ideas simply aren’t enough. Design has the power to inject enthusiasm and ‘gotta have it’ energy to even the most mundane of categories. Welly, created by the infamous team behind Method and Olly, knew that “when you are up against a 100-year-old giant, finding ways to stand out is challenging”. The brand’s strategy – “First Aid for when fun wins” immediately set it apart with a dose of freshness and delight that breathed new life into the aisle. As the brand rapidly extends into adjacent categories like OTC supplements and skin care, their joyful, smart design makes them irresistible to consumers.
SF Perspective: Design is a powerful tool. With countless new products competing for consumer attention, don’t overlook the impact smart, beautiful design can make.
The reality is that countless factors make or break the success of a new brand extension and product launch. But leading with human truths, centering ideas from the brand’s core, and investing in design at every touch will accelerate successful brand growth.

If you’re eager to stretch your brand in new and exciting ways, we’d love to help. We’ll build with intention to deliver enduring ideas with the energy to move people, your brand, and your organization.

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big together.

We love collaborating through challenges, big and small. If you're looking for a true partnership, we'd love to hear from you.