In the last month global marketplace Amazon launched a music streaming service, electronic car pioneer Tesla unveiled new solar roof tiles, and home electronics company Samsung bought a connected car firm for $8 billion.
Brand diversification is about more than commercial gain. Whilst Google may have struggled to get products like Google Glass into the mainstream, they succeeded in transforming themselves from a search engine into a global technology company. Helping them to attract the best talent and stay ahead of competitors. Their new experimental lab – X – describes itself as a ‘moonshot factory’. Part of parent company Alphabet, their mission is to ‘invent and launch ‘moonshot’ technologies that could someday make the world a radically better place.’ A wonderful proposition to entice the best entrepreneurial minds.
Investing in innovation and technology can also help to strengthen a brand’s proposition. Under Armour has spent almost $1 billion on fitness apps and wearable tech to help them in their mission to ‘make all athletes better through passion, design and the relentless pursuit of innovation.’
Not all brand diversification is driven by technology. With the insight that print is on the decline and coffee is booming, The Big Issue, a magazine published on behalf of and sold by homeless, branched out into coffee by creating a new brand – Change Please. The scheme empowers homeless people with the skills, equipment and coffee beans they need to become fully-fledged baristas. The coffee is also sold in supermarkets, where profits go back into the charity.
Steve Jobs famously said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Whilst this may not apply to the new Mac Candle, which for $24 you can enjoy the smell of a freshly unboxed Mac, investing in product and service innovation is the best way to stay ahead of your competitors and keep relevant in a fast changing world.