To characterize the product and branding strategy of a firm, one useful tool is the brand-product matrix, a graphical representation of all the brands and products sold by the firm. In the brand-product matrix all products offered under different brands are represented by columns. This helps marketers understand the current brand line and explore further opportunity in expanding the product line. In the brand-product matrix all current existing brand are represented in form of rows referred to as brand portfolio. The brand portfolio analysis is essential to design and develop new marketing strategies to target a given product category.
Brand-product matrix helps in showcasing different brands in any given product category. In that respect brand hierarchy is graphical representation of company’s products and its brands. Hierarchical structure starts with corporate brand and then showcases different product category and below brands. This sort of presentation helps devise marketing strategy at many levels and forms.
The rows of the brand-product matrix represent brand-product relationships and capture the brand extension strategy of the firm in terms of the number and nature of products sold under the firm’s brands. A brand line consists of all products—original as well as line and category extensions—sold under a particular brand. Thus, a brand line would be one row of the matrix. A potential new product extension for a brand must be judged by how effectively it leverages existing brand equity from the parent brand to the new product, as well as how effectively the extension, in turn, contributes to the equity of the parent brand. In other words, what is the level of awareness likely to be and what are the expected strength, favorability. and uniqueness of brand associations of the particular extension product? At the same time, how does the introduction of the brand extension affect the prevailing levels of awareness the strength, favorability, and uniqueness of brand associations or overall responses (judgments and feelings) toward the parent brand as a whole?
The columns of the brand-product matrix, on the other hand, represent product-brand relationships and capture the brand portfolio strategy in terms of the number and nature of brands to be marketed in each category. The brand portfolio is the set of all brands and brand lines that a particular firm offers for sale to buyers in a particular category. Thus, a brand portfolio would be one particular column of the matrix. Different brands may be designed and marketed to appeal to different market segments. A brand portfolio must be judged on its ability to collectively maximize brand equity. Any one brand in the portfolio should not harm or decrease the equity of other brands in the portfolio. In other words, the optimal brand portfolio is one in which each brand maximizes equity in combination with all other brands in the portfolio.
One final set of definitions is useful. A product line is a group of products within a product category that are closely related because they function in a similar manner, are sold to the same customer groups, are marketed through the same type of outlets, or fall within given price ranges. A product line may be composed of different brands or a single family brand or individual brand that has been line extended. A product mix (or product assortment) is the set of all product lines and items that a particular seller makes available to buyers. Thus, product lines represent different sets of columns in the brand-product matrix that, in total, make up the product mix. A brand mix (or brand assortment) is the set of all brand lines that a particular seller makes available to buyers
The branding strategy for a firm reflects the number and nature of common and distinctive brand elements applied to the different products sold by the firm. In other words, branding strategy involves deciding which brand names, logos, symbols, and so forth should be applied to which products and the nature of new and existing brand elements to be applied to new products. A branding strategy for a firm can be characterized according to its breadth (i.e., in terms of brand-product relationships and brand extension strategy) and its depth (i.e., in terms of product-brand relationships and the brand portfolio or mix). For example, a branding strategy can be seen as both deep and broad if the firm has a large number of brands, many of which have been extended into various product categories.