How to Create and Extend an Already Great Brand

Every business works hard to build a brand, to create an image that identifies their products and services and differentiates them from their competition.But can your brand–no matter how positive and highly-regarded–actually create a marketing obstacle?Surprisingly, the answer is yes.Here’s another in my series of interviews where I pick a topic and connect with someone a lot smarter than me. This time I talked to Tania Burke, the President of Trek Travel, a full-service cycling vacation company that offers trips in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America, about the impact of a strong brand on the growth of a business.(Oh: I own two Trek bikes I really like… and that’s also why I understand the marketing “challenge” faced by Trek Travel.)On a surface level it’s hard to imagine how how being associated with the Trek brand can cause a problem.It’s simple: because we have Trek in our name people automatically think we are high performance, racers, gear heads… so the challenge is to extend beyond that initial brand perception so people realize we have trips for all levels of riders.Granted the Trek name is also a huge asset. Avid and non-avid cyclists recognize the name. They know Trek has great products. That’s a hugely positive brand association that gives us extremely high credibility. People know and trust the brand so they feel confident booking a trip with us.So that’s our struggle. Everyone knows Trek makes outstanding bikes for hardcore riders, so to tap the broader market we need to play down the performance aspect so casual and recreational cyclists realize we have great trips for them, too.

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