I took note when the person in front of me in the checkout line bought a package of Carrot Cake Oreos. They sound delicious, but I believe that what prompted her to buy them was more of a focus on the “Oreo” portion of the equation rather than just the “carrot cake” flavor. It was a calculated risk for her that the Oreo product would be of a certain quality and consistency so she was secure in taking a chance that the flavor would be good.
Brand extensions are happening all around us as consumers are more willing to venture into new products when there is some known level of what they are getting. Peter Sims called this “Little Bets” in his book by the same name – taking small risks to create change and move things forward. We make little bets when we buy a new flavor of an established product – whether Oreos, M&Ms, English Muffins, lattes or cereals – all increasing sales in a way that may not occur if packaged under an entirely new and unfamiliar name.
Change is often hard for people. Temper your change and increase its acceptance by anchoring it to something that Is known. Can you make the equivalent to a “flavor adjustment” to one of your programs or services? How can you modify a product to keep its essence but make some aspect about it different? By focusing on what is the same, you’ll make it much easier for people to experiment with the newness and become comfortable with making a switch.