Our guest this week is the director of Perceptive Marketing, Sandra Brewer, who joins the BNR team to talk about how to manage marketing for a portfolio of brands.

This to answer to a question from a listener, Adrian Jones, who noted that companies with multiple brands must have to treat marketing for their consumer-facing brands very differently to their corporate brand — as they have completely different audiences. It led to a really interesting conversation.


Here are some key take-outs:

  • Whether you have one brand or a portfolio of brands is a decision based on two factors:
    • Audience. If you have separate audiences with distinct needs, then it’s worth having separate brands.
    • Efficiency. If there’s a commonality between the audiences, then it’s far more cost-effective to have one brand.
  • Sandra worked for Mars for many years. When we hear Mars we think of chocolates, like Snickers and M&M’s, but the company also sells pet food and pasta sauces — obviously these needed to be separate brands. But separate brands within the chocolate portfolio allow Mars to target separate audiences, too.
  • Sandra says: “Strive for one brand, if you can: The strength is there in one brand. If you’re standing for something that’s above the category, which is an idea — which is what we aspire for all brands — then you can have breadth.” She gives the examples of Apple and Virgin. “If you can build your brand on an idea, then you can meet your needs across a number of categories”.
  • For dealing with the media, particularly in moments of crisis communications, having separate brands can be a good strategy to help isolate separate products from the fallout of negative publicity.
  • Treat your consumer and corporate brands with absolute consistency.


On My Desk

  • Sandra recommended the Positioning Roulette
  • Sarah recommended this video about choosing the right font.
  • Nic mentioned a survey of Australia media he’s recently carried out. One of the findings was that 84 per cent of reporters, producers and editors prefer to be contacted by a short “snippet” email, with a follow-up phone call a couple of hours later. More results to come soon.


Have you heard the one about…

Recently James, Sarah and Nic looked at the take-outs from Nic’s Meet the Media series of events. If you deal with the media at all, it’s worth a listen.


And the team also got a bit passionate recently when asking the question “are marketing awards really worth the effort?”


Like what you’ve heard?

Give us a follow on Soundcloud to get the latest episodes.

Or, you can subscribe or leave a review on iTunes.