To say that we live in a highly competitive world is an open door the size of the opening door of NASA's now-closed vehicle assembly building at the Kennedy Space Center (there are four doors there, each large enough to let a space shuttle pass through). For the purposes of this book, we will limit ourselves in this chapter to the competitive complexities of managing large marketing/brand portfolios. But to be honest, whether you manage a complex or simple brand portfolio or even just one brand, the challenges are essentially the same.
Some numbers first: In 2012, AB InBev managed well over 200 beer brands worldwide. Unilever, according to their website, manages 34 brands, some of which contain many different product lines (such as Dove and Knorr). The Coca-Cola Company manages about 90 trademarks worldwide. All of those brands typically consist of various line extensions, flavor ranges, packaging sizes, and so on.
Each brand and sometimes each subbrand is supported by an ecosystem consisting of brand marketers, agencies, and support personnel, such as legal, finance, and procurement. This ecosystem is designed, trained, and incentivized for growth and survival. Shrink and you'll die; the name of the game is market share growth and value creation in brand revenues and ultimately company share price.
The authors have nothing against this system. We love the world of capitalism, free choice, and consumerism. But, the ecosystem and how it is executed leads ...