“Keep it simple stupid”. We’ve all heard of the KISS principle but in branding it is ignored far too often. Companies invest money and effort into building a brand and then turn around start weakening it. How do they weaken the brand? By broadening the product line too far. You see it in every market. Manufacturers hungry for more revenue expand their product line and in the process weaken their successful brand. An interesting side effect of this trend is that it shifts power away from the product manufacturing companies and to the retailers. The retailers own the shelf space so as manufacturers bring out more and more models the retailer raises the price of their valuable real estate. Pick any product in your local grocery store. Do we really need 25 different types of Kraft cheddar cheese? Surely, we can get by with regular and low fat can’t we? Having too many products within the same product line really won’t increase demand. It certainly drives up manufacturing costs though. Even more worrisome than increased costs is the manufacturer risks confusing their customer so much that they turn to a competitive product just because it’s simpler to find on the shelf. There is a huge advantage to keeping your brand specialized and focused on your target demographic. If the brand is focused it will be perceived by the consumer to be of higher quality and most likely will be purchased over those that are not. The watered down brand is perceived as trying to please everyone and in doing so, generic. No one really wants to buy a generic product unless price is the only issue. The mistake many product managers make is they assume because their initial product does well every product added to the line will also do well too. While this may result in a temporary increase in sales it will weaken the first product that was a success and limit its growth. Think carefully before expanding a successful brand with too many additional products. Specialized, focused brands are hard enough to create. If you have succeeded in creating one keep it simple stupid!