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Be careful where you put your brand

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When I was a kid I can remember my mom saying to me "you're judged by who you hang out with so choose your friends carefully." The adult equivalent to that is the advice that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. 

Believe it or not -- it's true for your brand as well. 

The frenzy around the new Star Wars movie is understandable. It's going to be huge and I fully understand the investment Disney has made in creating it. When you combine the hype of the franchise and the clout of the parent company (Disney) -- it's not a surprise that they've got a powerful promotional machine built. I am all for brand extension but come on. Of late -- I have seen:

While I suspect most of you don't manage a brand that rivals Star Wars -- I still think you need to be very careful about how you connect your brand to other products, organizations and services.  

Here are some tips:

The connection should make sense: Let's look at the Star Wars makeup. Not sure how you'd connect the dots on that one. Whether it's a charitable organization or a product extension or an ad campaign -- you need to make sure the connection is obvious to your audience.

It should serve the same audience: When you are thinking about brand extensions, think about the audience of the two separate entities. They should be the same. Otherwise, you're wasting that energy and connection. If your core audience is young moms, aligning yourself with something that is aimed at men 18-24 probably doesn't serve your purposes.  

The other brand should not dwarf yours: Yes, you want to borrow from the esteem of the other brand but you don't want to get lost in their shadow. It's okay to be the smaller fish but you don't want to be a minnow to their whale. 

I'm all for collaborating, partnering and building your brand by aligning with other brands. But do it wisely and don't overdo. Remember why you're making the effort and maximize your time/dollar investment by doing it sparingly and with the right partner.

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