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De Merkrolmethode (The Brand-Role Method), Jeroen Kemperman & Liedewij Trampe De Merkrolmethode (The Brand-Role Method), Jeroen Kemperman & Liedewij Trampe
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De Merkrolmethode (The Brand-Role Method), Jeroen Kemperman & Liedewij Trampe

On brand portfolios and diversity/diversification

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  • Brands that make up the brand portfolio should strengthen each other and create synergy.
  • Even though a brand portfolio is not necessarily constructed deliberately, it is important to manage it properly. In a well-managed portfolio, the sum is worth more than the individual parts. And those parts – the brands – are evaluated on an individual basis to see whether they add value to the bigger picture.
  • Like its individual parts, a portfolio should have a clear vision. Everything an organization does should be tested against this vision. However, a vision should not be invented for the portfolio; rather, it should be drawn from what is imbedded in the fundamentals of the portfolio. This vision should be the starting point for everyone involved with the portfolio.
  • In what markets can/will the portfolio operate? Using both outside-in and inside-out methods, the portfolio should make proper segmentations for its brands. When management performs this task, it tends to use the outside-in method; when the marketing department does it, they usually opt for the inside-out method. This causes blind spots in the actions of both groups.
  • After defining the brand portfolio, we can position the brands properly. Using brand roles makes it possible to visualize all the portfolio’s positions and locate complementarities or contradictory positions.
  • A brand’s role is the translation of a specific role that the organization wishes to play in a specific segmentation.
  • Even before they are defined, segmentation and positioning can be translated into a brand key that will be used to properly describe the brand’s role. To define such roles we can use:
    • Values and personality: What term describes the brand’s “personality”?
    • Origin and credibility: How does a brand connect with its heritage?
    • Promise in added value: What does the promise actually give the consumer?
    • Proof in qualities: In what ways is the brand unique?
    • Core essence: What terms make up the brand’s identity?
  • This results in a final image for every segment where the organization wants to provide value for. These are unique for every organization, market or situation.
  • An organization must make a distinction between differentiating demands and demands that cover the entire organization.
  • Brand role combinations: How do brand roles influence each other and how do we create synergy? We can use a brand role scorecard that visualizes how complimentary or contradictory certain roles can be.
  • How brand roles perform in combination with other roles is crucial: Do all of the roles fit together? Do they strengthen or weaken each other, or have no effect at all?
    • Are they complimentary?
    • Can they substitute each other?
    • Is there proper cohesion?
  • Logical combinations will always appear and are best suited to bringing under the brand umbrella. Building a portfolio will often involve a great deal of reflection and analysis in which all data is taken into account.
    • Always evaluate how close or far away your brand portfolio is from the perfect portfolio.
    • Use insights from evaluation to match certain brand roles to your portfolio in order to achieve perfection. Using as few brands as possible to reach as many markets as possible is key.
    • Implement changes and see where they take you. Always try to deliver on promises.
  • There are always pitfalls on the way to creating the perfect brand portfolio. Focusing too hard on changing brand roles and spending too much time and money on the “change” operation is a clear and present danger. After converting to the ideal brand, you cannot let it rest. Repositioning is not a sprint-stop race: building brands is a marathon, a long-term effort.
  • Good strategists acknowledge that they do not own the brands they manage. They realize that brands are more than their project alone. Brands have to be treated like a personality that can turn sour when not treated properly. Delivering on promises can be full of hardships but must remain the sole purpose. This is not easy for an organization that has to keep both overall demands and differential demands in mind.

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