Chapter 1

Defining the core

mic Headlines

At the heart of most strong brands is a strong core product or service. This strong core is a profitable source of growth in its own right and also the foundation on which future initiatives can be built, so it plays a crucial role. An important first step is to define what the core is, by identifying your brand's source of both profit and authority.

What is the core?

Most successful brands started out by selling one thing. Dove was once a single, simple cleansing bar. Apple sold computers. Virgin was a record company. There are some brands that have stuck to a mono-product proposition, making the core easy to identify. The Coca-Cola brand still sells only cola, for example, with the company using other brands for different products: innocent for smoothies, Powerade for sports drinks, Sprite for lemonade and so on.

However, other brands now sell lots of things. Back to the earlier examples, Dove sells a range of beauty-care products, including shampoos, deodorants and shower gels. Apple sells iPods, iPhones and iPads and is a leading retailer. And Virgin is perhaps the world's most stretched brand. This proliferation of brand extensions makes it increasingly difficult to define the core. In my client work I often come across teams who find ‘What is the core?’ a much more challenging question than you would expect. Of course, if you don't ...

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