Managing a Portfolio of Brands: A Semiotic Approach to Multibrand Policies

Jean-Paul Petitimbert
PRC, France.


Under the influence of the currently dominant marketing ideology of ‘global branding’ or ‘umbrella branding’, it is a broadly accepted statement that eight out of ten fast moving consumer good brands are likely to disappear in the next ten years.

As a matter of fact, it is undeniable that during the period extending from the early 1970s to the early 1990s, a plethora of new brands were given birth by corporations wishing to enter new market segments or new distribution channels. At that time, whenever a new opportunity was identified, creating a new brand name along with a new visual identity and a new advertising territory was a culturally unquestioned behaviour.

As a result of this era of marketing euphoria, many companies find themselves today in a critical situation: times have changed as it has become increasingly costly to maintain highly fragmented portfolios of brands and to support each of them properly. Brand portfolio management is probably to date what puzzles many CEOs and managing directors most, especially when it comes to trimming their portfolios and making decisions as to which of their brands should continue to be supported, strengthened and stretched or conversely should be sacrificed and 'shot dead'.