Stick to the knitting

Stick to the knitting is the old business school adage that you say to a business that’s overstretching: the coffee shop that starts to sell furniture; the hairdressers that goes for a jewellery line.

But the recession isn’t stopping some pushing very tenuous brand extensions. I confess to thinking The Sun had completely gone off the rails earlier this month when they launched their own perfume called Buzz.

Jam, the agency organising the launch said, “The Sun is the newspaper at the heart of the country’s entertainment world and Roja Dove is a world renowned Professeur de Parfums. Together they’ve collaborated to bottle the scent of pure entertainment.” Is that the new definition of overstretching?

I want Audi to build great cars not trainers, pens or microwave ovens. I’m all for a bit of diversification but brands should go deeper into making their best possible products, not go wider at every opportunity.

Aston Martin is doing this brilliantly and has been rewarded by CoolBrands declaring them the world’s coolest brand for the fourth time in five years.

A brand putting its logo on a T-shirt and mug is one thing, creating a perfume of pure entertainment in Harrods is a whole other ball game. Key question here: what business are you in, not, what can you possibly sell?

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