Category Archives: Managing portfolios


Time-warp marketing

My prize for the most exaggerated marketing trick of the year goes to two companies who are stretching consumers’ patience and stretching the time continuum. Every year, companies put Christmas items on sale earlier and earlier. This year was the furthest I’ve seen anyone pull Christmas forward. I found this example of winter fruit teas in a German supermarket in … Continue reading


Variant management

A huge challenge with products that span a number of variants is how many variants you need and how to keep them selling uniformly across the range. Production managers won’t like you if one of your products has to be made in small batches at irregular intervals. It’s not just expensive because of tooling and materials handling, items gathering dust … Continue reading

Schauma rationalisation

MBAs – on day 2 of Marketing Management be prepared for a question about this brand… Germany’s No1 shampoo brand used to have a complete dog’s breakfast of a portfolio. Too many variants, too many individual lines. I know because I got the list from their old website, before they spent nearly 18 months relaunching both the brand and the … Continue reading

Unilever declares its identity

Stepping up corporate branding

I had my suspicions about Unilever moving towards corporate branding (see gradual packaging changes here). Well it looks like my hunch was right. The first brand I’ve noticed publicly outing its Unilever owner – ie, showing the new logo on TV – is Lynx (Axe outside the UK). It’s taken what I call its ‘smell me bonk me‘ campaign and … Continue reading


Philip Morris spin off

Well, for years people have been secretly spreading the word about Marlboro’s supposed “involvement in foods and drinks markets”. Few end consumers knew that the owner, Philip Morris, which had often reaped criticism for promoting its tabacco products, also marketed household favourites as varied as Milka chocolate, Jacobs Krönung coffee and Toblerone in Germany, and Vegemite, Maxwell House and Miller … Continue reading

Not Jägermeister. Nope. Source: website

Not me – Kein Jägermeister

Portfolio management and long-term planning is crucial when you grow a business. One of the biggest issues from a marketing point of view is: do you stretch the brand and extend it into new markets, or do you launch new ones? This was obviously the issue tackled by Jägermeister, a cult brand that has already proven its marketing prowess by … Continue reading

Source: screenshot from

Sprite’s next move?

It’s intriguing to see major internationals revamping their product portfolios – which often involves the three R’s (redesign, relaunch and then resign – the last bit being the brand manager who realises it didn’t work). I notice that Sprite in the States has redesigned its pack. But why only in the States? Is the brand name not strong enough (with … Continue reading

Condoms? Mini-CDs? Or...

Surprising the critics

The websites I’ve visited in the States criticise this product for not looking like what it is, for trying to be “too cool” and setting up all the wrong signals for what is basically just the latest type of chewing gum. I’m not one to judge it, neither being American nor at high school. I wonder if the same applies … Continue reading

Walkers logo, UK

Chipping away at the design

Pepsico obviously takes a different tack to international brands than its arch enemy Coca-Cola. Coke is drinks, through and through. Pepsico, owner of the Frito-Lay brand, is also into snacks. But to achieve fast growth internationally it has gone for non-organic growth in many markets – ie, it buys up locals. So then you come back to the typical problem … Continue reading

Nivea hand cream (source for all images: Nivea website)

Whiter than white

Being the cynic and corporate sceptic I am, it’s rare for me to praise a monolithic, slow, plodding German giant. But Beiersdorf gets the “hats off” from me for its management of the Nivea brand. Maybe taking ages has its merits sometimes – especially when it comes to brand stretching… Nivea’s benefits are always about purity, soft caring cleansing, gentle … Continue reading


Tip of the iceberg

Nestlé and its ice cream brands. A continuing saga. I stumbled across their UK logo: Now hang on, we had something else in Switzerland: And in Spain (take your pick – the last time I was in Spain they had two logos running in parallel, or was it three): It strikes me that Nestlé’s problem is that they have taken … Continue reading