Martha Stewart - Extending the Brand
The Martha Stewart brand, synonymous with the notion of raising the quality of living in and around the home, drives diverse and complementary publishing, television, branded merchandise and retail businesses.
The largest selection of Martha Stewart-branded merchandise—more than 3,000 products—can be found exclusively at Kmart in the United States and Zellers in Canada. About 1,200 products are featured in the company's retail businesses: its catalog, Martha by Mail, and the Internet site, marthastewart.com. The largest segment of its business, representing more than 60 percent of the revenue base, is publishing: magazines; books; the syndicated "askMartha" newspaper columns appearing in 225 U.S. and Canadian publications weekly; and the radio show, broadcast on 285 stations in the United States, covering 93 percent of the total U.S. market.
To be sure, these businesses are diverse, but the Martha Stewart brand is the string that ties them all together.
Martha Stewart Omnimedia is one in an emerging category of companies characterized by:
• multiple customer contact points;
• complex product, service and content offerings; and
• multi-layered advertising and margin-based revenue structures.
Included in this category are a number of traditional direct mailers: catalog-retail-Web companies, as well as financial institutions and publishers using multiple customer touchpoints. All these companies require new practices in how they develop and manage their most strategic assets—their brand and customer base.
Martha Stewart's success largely is due to an understanding that growing the brand's value involves more than extending that brand through the addition of products and services or through maximizing delivery channels. It also reflects an understanding that successful brand-extensions require creating, maintaining and growing underlying associations—which imply a promise to customers from the organization as a whole.
But even for such brand giants as Martha Stewart, optimizing brand value means more than putting a name, face or logo all over the product, catalog, Web site or magazine. For a brand to be worth anything, it has to have an impact on the customer's experience with the company or organization.
Scott Davis is managing partner of the Chicago office of Prophet and Cathy Halligan is a director with its San Francisco office. Prophet is a strategic professional services firm specializing in brand leadership and brand-driven growth. For more information, visit www.prophet.com.