Sony wants its PlayStation brand to travel.
Synonymous with video games, Sony is extending the PlayStation brand into the mobile gaming market with its PlayStation Portable, or PSP.
At first glance, the PSP represents a line extension strategy in that it is targeting the same broad market (video gamers) with a new product that performs the same basic functions as the original PlayStation (plays video games) with some new features of its own (mobility).
However, the line extension label, which brand academic and author Kevin Lane Keller argues can be applied to 80 to 90 percent of new products launched annually, may be too limited for the PSP.
The PSP is somewhat of a Trojan Horse as the software contained within the device offers non-gaming features such as the ability to watch movies, listen to music or display the owner’s photographs.
This extends the PSP into a new product category of mobile entertainment and widens the consumer market for the device. A brand extension classification of category extension is therefore also applicable.
More interesting than the debate over whether it is a line extension or brand extension is understanding the brand strategy behind the extension and figuring out where Sony is taking its PlayStation brand.