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The Brand Portfolio refers to an umbrella under which all the brands or brand lines of a particular firm functions to serve the needs of different market segments. In simple words, brand portfolio encompasses all the brands offered by a single firm for sale to cater the needs of different groups of people. Brand portfolio is generally created because each brand has certain boundary beyond which it cannot fulfil all the needs of different market segments.
Brand Portfolio includes all of the brands managed by the organisation, including master brands, endorsers, sub-brands, branded differentiators, co-brands, branded energisers and corporate brands.
The Brand Portfolio Strategy specifies the structure of the brand portfolio and the scope, roles and inter-relationships of the portfolio brands with aim of creating synergy, leverage and clarity. Ideal outcome of correct brand portfolio strategy are relevant, differentiated and energised brands. Brand portfolio strategy can be elaborated through six dimensions : the brand portfolio, product-defining roles, portfolio roles, brand scope, portfolio structure and portfolio graphics.
Brand Portfolio Strategy Figure 1-2, David A. Aaker "Brand Porfolio Strategy"
To zoom-in into the potential role of Digital within the broader scope of brand portfolio strategy let's turn to the dimension of Product Defining Roles
Brand Portfolio Strategy and Product Defining Roles
When an offering is proposed it needs to be identified to customer by a brand or set of brands. The brand set with product-defining roles reflects an external view of the brands from the customer's perspective. Each brand will be in one of the following roles : Master Brand, Endorser Brand, Sub-Brand, Descriptor Brand, Product Brand, Umbrella Brand, Co-Brands, Driver Brands and Branded Differentiator.
Branded differentiators are brands or sub-brands that defines a feature, ingredient, service or a program. Creating a point of differentiation for a master brands makes the branded offering appear superior, or it augments the offering so that it provides more functions and benefits.
Branded Differentiator in Brand Portfolio Strategy
So, the purpose of Branded Differentiators is to provide an answer to an ever-increasing challenge for brands - remaining differentiated in a marketplace where cut-throat competition is fast to copy any newly developed beneficial and customer meaningful feature, product or service upgrade. Even though creating differentiation for brands is hard, one can't forget that differentiation is the engine of the brand train. While a specific point of differentiation in terms of new feature, service or ingredient can be copied by competition a brand can be owned and managed - and so can a "branded differentiator", to provide a lasting point of difference in customer's mind.
A branded differentiator is a branded feature, ingredient, service or a program that creates a point of differentiation for a branded offering that is meaningful for customers and merits active management over and extended period of time.
Branded Differentiator can take a shape of a : Branded Feature, Branded Ingredient, Branded Service or a Branded Program.
Digital as a Branded Differentiator : Case of Volvo Connect