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A flanker brand is a product or brand that a serves as an accompaniment or extension of an existing brand. Companies use flanker brands to target those sections of the market that their existing products don't already serve, and hopefully increase their overall market share. For instance, a company that has historically sold middle-to-high quality toilet paper to private consumers might come up with a cheaper flanker brand of toilet paper sold in bulk to appeal to another segment of the market, such as hotels or office buildings. The use of a flanker brand can be a particularly important strategy for companies that market specific products for a long time, since it can be hard to attract new customers to old products, and some products are inherently limited in the types of consumers they can attract.
As an example of a how a flanker brand might work, imagine that a company has been making a certain brand of dog food for many years and sales have stagnated. The company decides to introduce a pair of new dog food products aimed at different segments of the market. One brand might include high-end, natural ingredients that are sold at a higher price than the existing brand. By contrast, another new brand might be sold at a lower price and be targeted to consumers looking for a bargain.
Even if the sales of the original dog food go down, the end result can be a positive if excellent sales are recorded by the two new brands. The three brands together could likely carve out a bigger share of the dog food market for the company. As this example shows, even if a flanker brand competes with the existing brand, the company can benefit in the end by carving out a new niche for itself in the market.
There are other benefits that can be earned by a company that introduces a flanker brand into the market. By introducing a new product to the market under a different name, the existing brand won't likely be associated with the new product if it should fail. In addition, using flanker brands can be a way to reinvigorate a work force that has become used to creating the same product for a long time.