The article in Marketing Week November 1, covering the planned further expansion of the easy brand into cinemas and hotels, and the speculation that Sainsbury’s, Virgin and even Argos might all become utility suppliers to the nation raises the question: are these brands expanding because of consumer demand based on brand competency, or are they simply looking to generate extra cash?
In the case of easyGroup, its formula of innovation is based around cutting out extras to give people low-priced, good-quality services. Clearly the hotel world could do with such an offer, but I wonder about cinemas? Can it succeed where Virgin failed? How will it work to promulgate the easy proposition?
Consumers are becoming increasingly cynical about brands that enter markets simply because they are there. Among these is the headlong rush into financial services, which has lately been embraced by no less than Sony.
I am all for imaginative expansion, but if an offer is to stick and make the consumer sit up and take notice, it has to be founded on the central brand promise, and draw on known brand competencies, while at the same time bringing something new the market.