Would you drop your adorable child off at Huggies Daycare? How about handing that navy Gap cocktail dress over to Tide Laundry? Those are just two of the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands hoping their household names translate to related consumer services.
Turning a branded good into a related branded service is by no means a new idea. It is, however, trickier than just slapping the name over the door. What’s more, sometimes consumers want to keep their branded world separate.
Chicago’s trendy Lincoln Park is the test neighborhood for Tide Spin, a by-the-pound laundry service. Using the millennium-friendly slogan “Life Over laundry,” Tide Spin aims to capture hurried urban residents willing to outsource life’s mundane. Fluff-and-fold services have long been a feature of city living but Tide Spin aims to brand the experience. To attract customers, Tide Spin is offering services for just $1.59 a pound, almost half of some competing services.
Tide’s move into wash laundry services comes after success with its dry cleaning locations. Starting in 2008 in Kansas City, Tide Dry Cleaning (“We’re changing dry cleaning for good!”) is now in 31 cities.
Elsewhere on the FMCG spectrum, Kimberly-Clark’s diaper brand Huggies is aiming to get into the child care business. Huggies, leveraging its longstanding licensing agreement with Disney, will open day care facilities with the Huggies name. For the time being, these will be rebrands of existing daycare operations at Disney theme parks and aboard Disney cruise ships. Obviously, wipes, diapers and other supplies used at the childcare facilities will be Huggies brand.
— Huggies® (@Huggies) December 8, 2015
There are certainly examples of brands that develop branded services to make their core products more attractive. Success include Harley-Davidson’s Harley Owners Group (HOG) motorcycle riding community, Enterprise Rent-a-Car’s “We’ll Pick You Up” service and Airbnb’s Pineapple magazine.
Others are more similar to what Tide and Huggies are attempting—services that complement the brand’s existing products. Mr. Clean’s successful move into car washing is one. Gerber baby food brand expanding into Gerber Life Insurance for juveniles is another. In fact, insurance seems to be an easy field. Harley-Davidson’s HOG group also offers brand-backed insurance. Apple Care is another version of this. Google is using its dominant mapping system to develop Google-branded self-driving cars. Other hybrid examples include Culligan, which started as a brand of water filters and softener sales franchises and now includes purified and bottled water delivery and service.
Maybe the most famous branded good-to-service was Playboy’s turn from a magazine to a popular private club. A close runner up would be the Apple’s iTunes service.
It should be noted that this is not as easy as a common brand extension, which is usually a brand extending its brand name from its core good to an unrelated good, such as Porsche sunglasses, Beretta menswear or Harley-Davidson perfume.
There is reason to believe consumers react warily to all-encompassing branded life. There is something distinctly borg-like about a baby swaddled in Huggies and cared for by Huggies. What’s next, Huggies training bras and tutoring services? A perfect example of this wariness was captured in the excellent 2006 satire Idiocracy, where Costco not only provides all the FMCGs you want but it also offers a law school education and “loves you.”