Dee-Ching is VP Marketing for Beauty and Personal Care of Unilever Philippines,
in charge of 20+ brands in 4 categories. She won the Mansmith Young Market
Masters Award (YMMA) in 2016 when she was the Marketing Director for Hair.
Dorothy shares her insights about how she manages a portfolio of Unilever
brands. She will share more marketing tips during the 10th Market Masters
Conference on April 3, 2019 in SMX Aura.
Why is having a brand portfolio strategy important?
One brand cannot be everything to everyone. Thus, it is very important
especially in today’s highly fragmented world to have a portfolio of brands
that can cater to different consumer segments and needs.
all, a young fun-loving girl seeking new adventures and a confident
fashion-forward woman who is ready to make the world her runway would want very
different things for themselves and their hair.
the company, this allows it to go for more opportunities, leverage scale and
manage risks. For the brands, this allows it to stay true to its purpose and
what it stands for and not overstretch just to go for a bigger share of the
Can you share your framework on how to craft and manage a portfolio of brands?
The first step is to do a proper segmentation of consumers where each segment
should be sizeable enough with minimal overlaps. Cutting it too broadly would
make the targeting meaningless while cutting it too thinly would make it too
step is to identify which segments you’d like to play in. It is critical here
is to ascertain the growth (and profit) headroom of the segment. Is the
segment big but not growing? Is the segment small but accelerating fast?
this is to develop brands that would have the right to win in this
segment. What would this segment find most relevant and appealing and
differentiated vs. other players? This could be a unique proposition, new
product or packaging, special price point, massive or limited distribution or
everything is in place, it is important that the different brands in the
portfolio get the appropriate amount of support depending on their roles and
market so they can all grow and complement each other. After all, the point of
having a portfolio of brands is not to grow a brand/ slice but to grow the
whole portfolio/ pie!
How do you avoid cannibalization? How do you create synergy among brands?
To avoid cannibalization, tough choices will have to be made to ensure brands
differentiate themselves in strategy AND execution so consumers will not think
they are substitutable.
would expect a Mass brand to be overindexed in Sachets/Smaller Packs and
Sari-Sari Stores vs. a Premium Brand to be overindexed in Bottles/ Larger Packs
and Premium Health & Beauty stores.
the other hand, you can create synergy among brands by maximizing category
strength – educate the market and develop a segment collectively or by
leveraging scale – in procurement when ordering common materials, in production
when managing fixed costs and in trade when negotiating for space.
What are some tips you can give on managing different brands over time?
In managing different brands over time, you need to be able to wear a different
consumer hat each time.
it’s a young girl facing insecurities about her body image, a yuppie who wants
to look good and smell fresh all-day to stay confident or a new mother struggling
to provide the best care for her baby — it is only when you have a deep
understanding of your consumers’ needs, wants and aspirations will you be able
to get valuable insights on how your brand can help and impact their lives.
How can you leverage your current brand portfolio for organic growth?
Once you have a strong brand portfolio, it is very important that you build and
nurture each brand so that they can all be sizeable and profitable.
drive organic growth, each brand must consistently stay true to itself in order
to build strong memory structures and emotional engagement, continuously
refresh so it continues to excite and stay relevant to current users and
constantly recruit to keep bringing in new consumers to help fill the leaky
What are some of the challenges in managing a portfolio of brands?
Just like children, you need to love all the brands equally but treat them
differently depending on who they are and what you want them to be.
example, a new brand that you are just building would definitely need more
attention and nurturing vs. an already strong, mature brand.
is important is that you fully understand the brands and their unique needs and
treat each brand fairly.
(Dorothy Dee-Ching can be heard live. Join over 1,000 marketing executives and entrepreneurs to listen to how 35 marketing rockstars think, strategize and execute this April 3, 2019 in SMX Aura. Register via www.marketmastersconference.com)
Record-breaking, bestselling author Josiah Go is the Chairman of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. (the leading marketing and sales training company in the Philippines), and Chairman of Waters Philippines (the market leader in the direct selling of premium home water purifiers in the Philippines). He is Chairman / Vice Chairman / Director of over a dozen companies.