Expand Your Brand by Expanding Its Purpose

Selling opportunities for products are limited by the purposes or uses of them. Managing products in the maturity stage of the product life cycle usually includes a prescription to develop additional uses for the product. While this prescription is logical, pulling off a campaign to convince customers they should expand their view of your product's capabilities is easier said than done.

An example of a brand seeking to expand the scope of its product is Sharpie. Its markers are ubiquitous in offices, but being an office supply item limits Sharpie's business potential. Sharpie looks to break out of the office supply box through its "Sharpie Uncapped" campaign. The campaign uses traditional media advertising and a web site (www.sharpieuncapped.com). The site connects visitors to Sharpie's social media presence on Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, and YouTube. The effort is a way for Sharpie to strengthen relationships with consumers and differentiate the brand. If successful, more people will not need markers, they will want Sharpies. And, Sharpies will have more relevance in their daily lives.

Will the Sharpie Uncapped campaign work? At first glance, it does seem to be a stretch that the company could convince consumers that its markers are more than just markers. Sharpie's social media tactics could be potentially effective for making the brand more personable and less like an object (even though that's what it is, I know). If Sharpie can shift consumers' views of the brand from a commodity-like office staple to a "cool tool" to use at home, school, and anywhere else, it will have succeeded in expanding the brand's role. The result will be a more relevant, stronger brand.

Marketing Daily - "Sharpie's Out to Prove It's More than a School Supply"

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