Strategically managing brand portfolios is vital to successful businesses. There are many triggers that demand such attention, such as optimizing marcom budgets and resources and controlling/reducing costs. However, it is particularly crucial when mergers and acquisitions (M&As) come into play as part of a business growth and expansion effort.
M&As prompt even more portfolio due diligence.
Expect the growth of M&As to continue because of globalization and intense pressure for companies to perform, amid escalating costs and market volatility. Companies, financial advisers and investment bankers must consider complex factors and realize that the brands involved are also important to manage in the process. Experts agree that brand portfolio strategies have an impact on the M&A process success.
During that process, many portfolio management challenges can arise, such as merging corporate brands and dealing with multiple master brands in many forms: companies, products, services, business units, segments or channels, and umbrella brands. There are plenty of challenges amid the implicit M&A opportunities. We know the challenges and opportunities firsthand because of our early and integrated portfolio strategy work with many clients over the years.
How can a team win with players out of position?
With brand portfolios, a time-proven technique is to explain them using metaphors. A rather ubiquitous metaphor is the traditional family structure of parents and children. This well-known aspirational hierarchy can serve its purpose, but is perhaps outdated.
One of my favorites is that of a team on the field of play. In this example, it is a football pitch. Now, some may view it as a soccer field. But after living and working in the United Kingdom for three years, I am assured by my “mates across the pond” that it is indeed a football pitch.
The first illustration shows the ideal situation with all players in place. This is akin to the tidy organizational charts drawn to explain a company’s brand portfolio. But the reality is often different.
Unfortunately, this second illustration is more indicative of real-world portfolios for many. Players are out of position — some key players might not even be on the pitch. How can a team win with players out of position? You know the answer. You get the metaphor. Simple, but it makes the point.
So, what does it mean to win?