Multi-platforms for multi-brands? No, a centralized distribution’s better


Like Banderas in the film "Two Much", doubling up to adapt to the personality of the girl he goes out with, similarly multi-brand businesses must pay great attention to their content management policy, in order to avoid discrepancies in the final message.

But what do we mean with “multi-brand”? We refer to those complex corporate realities composed of a rich portfolio of brands, positioned in a way to attract different market segments and organized in the following hierarchy:

  • Corporate or company brand (the "umbrella" company’s name)
  • Family brand (indicating more than one category of products) or Product line brand (limited to one category of products)
  • Product brand
  • Modifier (article, product variant)

As an example, Nestlé, the world's largest food group, with more than 2000 brands in multiple markets, is the Corporate Brand; it includes several Family Brands (from bottled water to baby food, from cereals to coffee, etc.). Within these product lines there are Product brands (e.g. Nescafè). 


Surely, many advantages come from using a multi-brand strategy, but there are downsides as well, first of content management.


The many challenges of multi-brands

The research "Intelligent content management", carried out by Forrester in collaboration with THRON, interviewed more than 200 leading European companies including many with a multi-brand portfolio, and revealed some common difficulties:

1) Too many channels to feed

It’s not easy to keep up with the fast and voluminous production of content prompted by the emergence of new digital touchpoints (social media, website, apps, etc.), in order to meet the users’ need for customization.

Feeding these channels is getting more and more complicated, especially if the effort is multiplied by a number of brands. For each product, it is necessary to create, manage and distribute a vast number of resources.

2) Multiple work tools

Most of the companies surveyed use non-integrated tools and platforms to manage the content lifecycle. This causes the sharing of digital assets with partners and external agencies to be problematic. File sharing systems and emails, in fact, make it impossible for the brand-owner to control the final result: is the published asset the correct version, or has something been lost in the process? Then, when needed, retrieving a file from the various system memories becomes a Herculean task.

When we talk about a multi-brand we have to consider hundreds of teams with different workflows, different languages and specific objectives, and all of them play complementary roles in the way the company is presented on the market. Without a centralized platform, which breaks down data silos, it is difficult to enable collaboration.

3) Non-aggregated data

Managing content across multiple platforms also entails the risk of losing consistency. At the same time, there is a fundamental inability to collect aggregated data from content analysis. Understanding whether an asset has been successful in a given market, or what caused its setbacks would allow the company to re-use it more effectively.


The solution: a single Source of Truth

Forrester’s research provides a solution proven by facts: if multi-brands want to improve their business performance, they must resort to centralized distribution and Content Intelligence.


Many corporate brands have successfully adopted them already: among them is Whirlpool Corporation, which from a centralized database is able to distribute thousands of pieces of content in multiple languages, on different markets, while creating usage profiles (see here for more details).

Sharing digital content from a single access point allows you to create a common language between your internal brands and partners (such as creative agencies or retailers), creating an efficient and effective validation circuit.

The work of Artificial Intelligence should not be forgotten either, which can provide quality feedback on user interactions through metadata, which identifies content.