The beauty of good visual identity design is how quickly it can travel across touchpoints, creating an ongoing connection with Brand, an ongoing conversation with consumers, and a sense of discovery surrounding the personality of the Brand. Few Brands look at identity in this way. Instead they look at their logo as the visual identity of the Brand, leaving it alone, untouched, static, impersonal. Some Brands see the importance of versatility and humanity in their visual identity, such as Absolut or Google. Arguably this versatility, as long as there are some unifying and anchor elements that are respected, allows the visual identity and recognizability of the Brand to be stronger. See the iTV rebranding work that won Gold at Cannes .
The best visual identity work stems from a simple story, one that is core to the values of the Brand, and one that people will be enchanted by. This starting point allows every touchpoint to be another expression or chapter of the story. As such, all decisions on where, or not, to extend the Brand become clearer because you will know whether it can fit into the story.
The most powerful visual identity work that I saw at Cannes was for Nine Suns Winery because it was so versatile and so easy to fall in love with. The easy application across media, merchandise, pack, etc. is really impressive. Have a look.