Black (& Decker) & Blew All Over

09 Jun 2005|Leah Hunter

Just because a brand can stretch into a particular product line doesn’t mean it should.

This lesson splattered all over me last weekend when I was testing my brand new Black & Decker hand mixer. The mixer, a present from my mother in law, seemed like a good idea on paper. Black & Decker makes great tools. A mixer is an indispensable tool for baking. The combination made sense. That is, until…

…I remembered that Black & Decker is known for raw, big-block, Mustang Cobra horsepower. Manly stuff. And that’s not at all what you need for baking. The first rule of making cakes is not to over beat the batter. Too much mixing leads to tough cookies. Five-speed engines, I learned while scraping chocolate Rorschach blots off my backsplash, are total overkill in the kitchen.

Because it is homegrown American brand, Black & Decker has generous permission, in this country, to move into new categories—a lesson illustrated in our just-released, global brand extendibility study. Over the past decade the brand has taken full advantage, migrating from the garage to the kitchen to the closet with a new garment care line. But I hope it will stop to consider its strength (and strengths) before stretching into any other plug-ins.

Black & Decker electric toothbrushes, anyone?

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