Most companies know that the simplest way to expand your brand is to widen the range of products and services you offer.
Businesses have been employing this tactic for years, expanding beyond their core product range in order to secure the business they know their customers will otherwise take elsewhere.
Hairdressers offer cosmetic treatments; supermarkets stock everything from clothes to furniture; and when was the last time you saw a garden centre that just sold plants?
Although the benefits of expanding your range can be tempting, the risks should not be overlooked. Many companies have fallen flat after becoming a ‘jack-of-all-trades’, trying to be all things to all people instead of sticking to what they’re good at. So where do you draw the line? How do you expand your range without compromising the quality of your products or service? Three factors are key – expertise, demand and opportunity.
To demonstrate how these factors come into play in real life, I will use the example of [ilink url=”http://www.airblastafc.com”]Airblast AFC[/ilink] , a surface preparation and finishing equipment manufacturer and distributor offering everything from single blast pots to multi-million dollar blasting and spraying facilities and all the trimmings. However, the company started out by selling a single service, namely contract shot blasting.
Airblast had always hoped to be able to offer a complete range of surface preparation and finishing equipment and services but understood that range expansion had to be organic and not forced.
To start out, they honed their expertise in their core product offering – contract shot blasting – building their experience to the point where they knew the industry inside out.
During this time the company found that there was more demand for the blasting products themselves rather than the shot-blasting services they offered and, thanks to their origins in contracting, were already equipped with the expertise to produce surface preparation products that were exactly what the customer was in the market for.
The company could now offer a full range of surface preparation equipment but felt that they were missing out on potential business by not having any surface finishing products. However, with no experience in painting equipment, they decided that patience was the best option and, rather than making a slap dash attempt to shoe-horn these new products into their offering, they waited for the right opportunity.
That opportunity came when Airblast was able to embark on a joint venture with AFC Finishing Systems who already offered a comprehensive range of paint application equipment and had decades of experience in surface finishing.
Now Airblast AFC are able to offer a holistic approach to surface preparation and finishing, creating the most advanced, high quality, turn-key solutions for their customers. By honing their expertise to enable them to properly judge demand and waiting for the right opportunity, the company was able to ensure that their range included everything they wanted without having to compromise on quality.
So don’t be tempted by range expansion as a quick way to boost your brand. Without the necessary product knowledge, market demand and the right opportunity, you’re just diluting your offering instead of making it stronger. Be patient and allow your range to grow organically and you will ultimately reap the rewards of being able to offer your customers the best quality products and services.