Friday, September 19, 2008

More than O's

How do you build on a successful brand?

Extend it.

Without question General Mills' Cheerios is one of the most successful cereal brands, and the company has recognized this. From the original toasted O's recipe, the brand now encompasses ten different varieties.

The latest is Oat Cluster Cheerios Crunch, a combination of multi-grain O's and oat clusters. Crunchie clusters are popular right now (e.g. Post's Honey Bunches of Oats) so General Mills is picking up on an important trend.

I'm not into reporting on every new cereal that crops up. Many are far from exciting or being noteworthy. What captures my attention with this new variety is the way that these new extensions may be gradually straying from the original concept. Perhaps it is good marketing strategy in the short-term, but over the long-term if General Mills continues to extend Cheerios even further the brand could easily become diluted and meaningless.

How far can they go?

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