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Achieving the Ideal Brand Portfolio

To optimize a portfolio of brands, companies can use a five-step approach. First, managers decide on the brands to review. Second, they analyze all of the brands on the resulting short list with respect to each one's contribution to the company. Third, they assess the brands according to current market performance (traction) and future prospects (momentum). Fourth, the brands are classified along those three dimensions (contribution, traction and momentum), allowing managers to identify both challenges and opportunities.

The process enables companies to sort their brands into different categories: power (a brand that needs to be defended ferociously and deployed judiciously), sleeper (a brand that with a little fast tracking can build into a power brand), slider (a valuable brand that has lost momentum, is slipping backwards and needs immediate intervention to prevent meltdown), soldier (a solid brand that contributes quietly without the need for much management attention), black hole (a brand that sucks up resources and may or may not ever pay out), rocket (a brand that is on its way to power-brand status), wallflower (a small, underappreciated brand with very loyal customers, often underpriced and undermarketed) and discard (a brand that should have been mothballed years ago). Lastly, the objectives for each individual brand are tied together into an overall plan, which will include any changes to the roster, brand architecture and resource allocation.
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