The latest brand extension comes from Chumbak which is known for its quirky home & décor and accessories. It extended its product portfolio to include clothes this month. Louis Philippe, a brand positioned in the premium segment for men’s apparel launched its timepieces ‘Louis Philippe TIME’.

Commenting at the launch of its timepieces, Sooraj Bhat, COO, Louis Philippe & Allen Solly, said, “In recent years, diversification has become an important mantra for retail brands. With factors such as the changing shopping preferences of consumers, disposable income and enhanced standard of living driving sales, keeping pace with the requirements of the industry has become essential. We are looking at a significant contribution of this category in the total revenue generated by House of Louis Philippe in the next five years.”

For Vivek Prabhakar, Co-Founder and Chumbak too getting into apparels category is a strategic decision considering the opportunity that the category offers. Home products account for 60% of Chumbak’s revenue, while accessories account for 40 per cent of the venture’s revenue. Moving forward, these dynamics will change for Chumbak with home and accessories accounting for 65 per cent of the business revenue followed up by apparel revenues stocking up to 35 per cent.

So what are a few factors to keep in mind when going for brand extension? R Sridhar, Founder and CEO of Integrated brand-comm is of the opinion that the extension only makes sense if the brand has a strong resonance and presence and most importantly a good connotation in the category. Take for example, Britannia- since it has a strong presence in biscuits it can leverage this to extend to any product in the bakery segment. Interestingly, Sridhar also points out that when we talk brand extension one generally seen it in terms of product diversification but a good way to approach this would be on the brand’s ethos or brand values. Like take the example of Kingfisher (I know not a good example in the present circumstances) which is built on the premise of being a `King of Good Times’ now this can be extended to various products like airline, TV Channel and even IPL team as the philosophy helps in tapping a wider range of categories.

This probably explains the brand extension of Chumbak into apparels with its Collection One. They are leveraging the brand quirkiness that it is known for into clothes category which will hopefully give them a bigger market share.

Jessie Paul, CEO, Paul Writer says, “Brand extensions are a great way to monetize your brand value by spreading it across a large range of goods, and hopefully command a premium for it. It’s much cheaper than launching a new brand.” She adds that while the Louis Philippe extension is not a big leap as it is in the same space – fashion – as the parent brand, the Chumbak expansion is a jump as it is trying to cross from home decor to fashion. Paul cites Tommy Hilfiger and Armani as brands that have successfully straddled the fashion and home decor spaces using their distinctive design style as a bridge. “Chumbak has successfully transitioned from the souvenir market to home decor. They now want to use their design ethos to cross over to fashion. But fashion is a fickle space and though I swear by Bombay Dyeing towels, for example, I wouldn’t wear a Bombay Dyeing frock. At present I can easily see Chumbak occupying the quirky T-shirt spot, but they’ll have to further build out their design creds to be a fashion contender.”

So would you wear a Bata dress? Use a Hapric toothpaste? What do you think? Will these brand extensions sink or fly?


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