Many people imagined that the exponential growth of e-commerce in 2020 would kill traditional retail, driving shoppers definitely away from physical stores. But the data show otherwise. As health restrictions ease, Brazilians are resuming in-store shopping. By 2025, stores will account for 82% of total national retail sales and 57% of sales growth, according to a survey by Google with Euromonitor  making it clear that the relationship with customers still takes place primarily off-line.

So no, the pandemic has not killed or weakened traditional retail, but it has changed it profoundly, accelerating trends like omnichannel and the appreciation of in-store experience – a challenge for brands that are poorly prepared for the new shopper behavior. And this new reality adds to the fragile context of the economy, which is pushing FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) companies to make more efficient investments, especially in physical retail.

With so many risks at stake, how do you validate POS (point of Sale) strategies and campaigns before scaling them? How to adapt the A/B testing – so commonly used in the digital world – to the offline setting, to test the execution plan live, in real-world conditions, optimizing efforts and pivoting it in time?

Old retail myths need to die once and for all

To evolve the way we approach, test, and scale retail, we need to rethink some ‘ myths’ that guide brand decisions in go-to-market strategies.

“POS is about selling, and not about building brands”

There is an old belief that branding and trade do not mix, leading in practice to the separation between the brand strategy and its execution, which are oftentimes developed by different entities, that do not interact. This is a mistake, especially today, when the store must increasingly deliver a complete, immersive and emotional experience, becoming a point of relationship before being a point of sale.

“The only purpose of testing and prototyping is to understand the technical aspects”

In the traditional trade test culture, it is very common for brands to test the POS campaign with no clear success criteria, no dedicated follow-up, in controlled environments, with shelves exposed to handpicked consumers. In such a scenario, it’s really hard to test anything other than functionality. However, using more agile digital culture methods applied offline, it is possible to understand conversion data and brand KPIs, which help to build the brand, enhance sell-out and scale efficiently.

“Digital is only relevant in e-commerce”

The digital world is transversal and permeates every aspect of our lives, from our relationships, to finances, to the purchases in physical points. Brands that integrate digital solutions using tools such as apps, QR codes and augmented reality – which solve their customers’ pain points in a practical and intelligent way – stand out. However, they need to adopt the methodology test and learn before scaling, since digital tools ask for greater precision and adjustments to give results.

There is no magic formula for successful trade marketing, but one thing is certain: in the post-pandemic scenario, brands need to improve POS efficiency, ensuring scale, capillarity and providing a return-on-investment perspective through reliable testing. And how to do it?

A new way to test live: the Shoppering methodology

Faced with this challenging context, CBA B + G, in partnership with Bistrô Estratégia, have created Shoppering, a unique methodology for testing and prototyping strategy and execution of materials at the POS – including packaging – in real time and conditions, giving a second chance to the first impression that brands must leave on shoppers; thus improving the chances of conversion.

Viviani Tacila, co-founder of Bistrô, says that the methodology came to fill a market gap: “While leading the strategic planning of agencies, it was frustrating to be unable to see the strategy being tested and executed live. As much as we believed in its efficiency and depth, we had no way to validate or control it because we did not follow the process. We saw the strategies being directly implemented on a large scale, without any real test.”

The Shoppering model, following the principles of experimental design and the test and learn approach of innovation methodologies and start-ups ecosystem, helps to test and improve the campaign in real stores, with real consumers, fostering agility and promoting brand efficiency. “We test live for a period, understand the flaws, pivot in a new direction and test again before crafting a playbook”, explains Stephanie Lamenza, the other co-founder of Bistrô. “Is the campaign message clear? Does the trigger work? “There is no doubt, pivoting and continuous learning is essential.”

Joining Bistrô’s expertise in strategic planning and in the test and learn methodology with CBA B + G’s knowledge in design and branding, the tool unites trade with brand building. According to Luis Bartolomei, partner and co-founder of CBA B + G, it helps brands convert leads into sales while building a strong brand equity. He says: “The Shoppering project is an expert omnichannel brand strategy initiative focused on Sales, created to build a decisive bridge between these two points – Sales and Branding – often placed at antagonistic poles. It is not just about testing POS material, but rather a model that includes strategic planning, prototyping and pivoting concepts with KPIs focused on POS presence, sales conversion and brand value.”

The four steps of the Shoppering Project

  • WHAT: Alignment of task, strategic planning, definition of KPIs, pre-testing of chosen site.
  • HOW: Real time monitoring dashboard and field implementation: we developed an interface where clients can timely monitor the test data, ensuring the transparency and efficiency of the campaign.
  • TEST: Live-test and prototypes pivoting, making the necessary adjustments on-site as we receive the data and the feedback from the campaign.
  • ROLL-OUT: Development of a playbook with the final recommendations.

The initiative is beginning to gain momentum. If you would also like to test your brand execution plan live, under real conditions and pivot it in time, this is the solution. What do you say? Let’s work together to increase performance and build your retail brand?


In a world overflowing with boxes, cases and packs, what’s the role of packaging and how will it create a strong relationship between brands and consumers?

While a crucial topic as reduction of packaging is (fortunately) already being well discussed and effective solutions are being developed to reduce its environmental impact, we decided to dig a little deeper, hoping to spark a reflection on what the future of packaging might look like, starting with the initial queries.

Think you know the answer? Spoiler: there is no single path. Still, one element seems to guide the evolution of packaging, and it’s the one that underlies every single relationship: interaction. 

At CBA, we investigated what lies behind the packaging-consumer interaction, and we came to realize that this relationship has continued evolving over the past years, going through six different levels. Let’s have a look at some real-life examples:



The Desrotulando app was developed by nutritionists and is the first food score app in Brazil. By scanning the barcode, the tool analyzes product’s information and translates it into a score from 0 to 100, providing evaluations by name, brand or category.

In this type of interaction, the packaging plays a passive role, waiting to get scanned. The interaction is merely functional since it doesn’t provide the user with any particular experience.

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Nesquik Nestlé

CBA Turkey partnered with Nesquik to create an interactive packaging design for their breakfast cereal. CBA created and developed a coloring area with 4 main themes: Planets, North Pole, Oceans and Our World.

This packaging allows the user to express him/herself while giving the box a second life. The interaction opens to a moment of entertainment and becomes the very first step in the relationship between the brand and its audience.

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Product storytelling

D'Onofrio Reserva

For Peruvians, sophistication comes from origin. They take pride in their ancestral roots and the popular culture is their most precious asset.

For D’Onofrio Reserva, the premium line for Nestlé Peru 70% cocoa bars, we felt the urge to add an important element: the cocoa origin history. This emotional element, essential to lend credibility to the new line and build a connection with people, is in the inside of the packaging. Following the creative concept El tiempo sabe lo que hace (time knows best), stories are told, enhancing the cultivation, the harvest, and the selection of the best beans. 

It is a product that cherishes the making of chocolate, the time and dedication behind its production. A line of chocolates that values authentic recipes and the respect for the origin, producers, and ingredients, as do the Peruvians.

Brand storytelling


We designed the new identity of Meracinque rice, aiming at conveying the high quality of the product through an emotive and rational consumer-driven approach. The result was the creation of a new pack, where the five sisters tell their story and describe the product.

The story of the sisters occupies a primary position in the pack. The pack was developed as a medium focusing on narration, taking the consumer on a journey to discover a one-of-a-kind story and an extraordinary brand.

As we set out to uncover the next level of interactive packaging, we began to wonder: are there more questions we need to address? 

Short answer: yes, there’s always more to address. 

Long answer: as far as packaging, we identified one more level of interaction, that we divided into two main themes. In our opinion, they will be pivotal in guiding its evolution: we are talking about inclusivity and continuity.

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In our opinion, one of the best examples of inclusive packaging is represented by Kellogg’s Rice Crispies Love Notes. This product comes in two versions: one for autistic kids and one for kids with sight disabilities. 

The one designed for kids with autism comes in a pack with four heart-shaped stickers to match the space on Rice Krispies Treats writable wrappers. The sensory stickers feature soft, smooth and bumpy textures designed for children with autism who may enjoy tactile experiences. 

The one dedicated to kids with sight disabilities includes six heart-shaped stickers displaying love messages in the Braille alphabet so that kids can receive love notes from their parents even during their afternoon snack.

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While designing the new packaging for its iconic Happy Meal, McDonald’s goal was to “ensure that the World’s most famous box will continue to be magical and relevant to families for another 30 years. Meet Happy Goggles – a unique VR viewer made from an ordinary Happy Meal box.”

McDonald’s was able to bring forth what we believe will be the future of packaging: a transformative box that enables a continuous interaction on both digital and physical levels, in order to enhance the brand experience.

In the end, we can conclude that interaction is the main element that brands are taking into account as they follow the natural evolution of packaging. How come?

The most relevant trends are showing us how the average consumer is evolving, always expecting more in terms of experience and engagement from the brands they follow. In order to keep up with people’s needs, brands and packaging must continue to evolve, on the one hand by meeting the demands of their respective markets, and on the other by maintaining the ability to remain true to themselves and stand out from their competitors.

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Giulio Vescovi, Strategic Designer at CBA Italy 

March is women’s month (March 8 is the official day, but at CBA B + G we celebrate it till the 31st!), and we could not fail to honor those who have contributed to breaking sexist paradigms in society. Following our article on the topic of female leadership (if you haven’t read it yet, click here), we have selected 7 businesses and initiatives made by women and aimed at women, in male-dominated categories and sectors.


Women making the first move.

Founded in 2014 by the American entrepreneur Whitney Wolfe Herd, the principle of this dating app is simple: women are the ones to make the first move. It may seem an insignificant detail, but in fact it deeply impacts the rules of the game, empowering women who often do not dare to take initiatives, and are left at a disadvantage. It is also worth noting that, at the age of 31, Whitney, with son on hip, took Bumble public on Nasdaq, valued at 14 billion dollars. Powerful!

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Bye-bye hard porn, long live real sex!

Tired of the hardcore porn industry, the wonderful publicist and feminist Cindy Gallop launched more than 10 years ago the platform MakeLoveNotPorn, as an alternative to mainstream platforms, with representations of sex between more real and diverse people, respectful of consent . We suggest you watch her brilliant TED Talk and start using the platform now!

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For more well cared and assisted mothers of newborns

When Sara Bates’ daughter was born, she had no idea of all the physical and emotional pains that she, as a mother, would face. She soon discovered that she was not the only one: despite the fact that 90% of women suffer postpartum complications, the vast majority do not know how to deal with it. That’s why she founded Mamamend, a digital health platform that brings information and resources to mothers of newborns.

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O Gato Sem Rabo

Female narratives, only.

In the midst of the pandemic, the courageous researcher Johanna Stein opened in São Paulo the first feminist bookstore in the city, which stocks books only by women authors. O Gato Sem Rabo, located in the district of Vila Buarque, has already almost two thousand titles from 680 different authors available on its shelves. Johanna says that the bookstore’s name (in English – The cat without a tail) is a reference to Virginia Woolf, who used the feline metaphor to talk about the lack of legitimacy, time, money and space imputed to women throughout history.

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Casa del Sol Tequila

Returning tequila to the tequileras.

The famous actress Eva Longoria has also become an entrepreneur, creating a brand that honors her Mexican roots and empowers women. She launched, in 2021, Casa Del Sol, a luxury tequila inspired by the goddess of agave, Mayahuel, which pays homage to the tequileras behind the production and distillation process.

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MBM Movement Black Money

It's black women's turn.

Considered nothing less than one of the most powerful women in Brazil by Forbes, Nina Silva is CEO and co-founder of the Black Money Movement, an innovation hub for insertion and autonomy of the black community in the digital age. Among the initiatives promoted by the hub, are the Start Blackup, a series of meetings held between entrepreneurs, the Afreektech, its educational arm, and the D’Black Bank, a fintech to connect consumers and entrepreneurs.

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Rewriting history with NFTs.

This community led by Gen Z women, and with more than 40k followers, aims to use NFTs to empower women. According to its founders, through this incredible new technology, which is just beginning, women have the chance to empower themselves and rewrite history. If you have not yet understood what an NFT is and how it works, take a look here .They have it all explained!

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The business concept by women for women lately applied in the world of brands has been calling our attention. If on one hand we are living a chaotic situation, where feelings of radicalism and neglect seem to reign – and we are not speaking (only) of politics, on the other hand we have to value the openness we are experiencing regarding gender issues, representativeness and empowerment of different groups in society.  It has been, is and will always be – as far as we are concerned – the time to open dialogue on inequalities and let them take center stage in the debate.

Data show that the female presence in leadership positions is still very limited, and not only in Brazil. In Standard and Poor’s 500 index, (stock market index that tracks 500 U.S. publicly traded companies), women make up only 6.2% of all CEOs. Moreover, they face a lack of diversity in the types of businesses developed. A GEM survey, conducted by Sebrae in 2020, shows that women entrepreneurs work mainly in 6 segments – among them food, beauty and clothing. Whereas among men, this figure rises to 14.

And what can we say about women’s self-esteem? A study conducted by Kantar (WPP) in 2019 in the UK, called What women want, revealed that 85% think film and advertising misrepresent the real women, leading two-thirds of them to skip ads that negatively stereotype them. The same survey conducted in 2021 with Latin women points out that only 25% of them feel comfortable and free to make decisions concerning their body and sexuality, showing that there is still a lot to be done by brands in terms of representation. 

Knowing that there is still a long way to go, but looking again at the bright side of this discussion, we searched for references from brands and organizations headed by women who are turning the tide.

The first is a list compiled by Obvious Agency, which in itself is an inspiration, given the revolutionary way it builds content about and for women (it approaches everything: women’s rights, motherhood, self-care, sex, career, self-esteem, relationship, culture, trends). Obvious shared a list of six small businesses created by Brazilian women and how their brands transmit positive and affirmative messages. Take a look, it’s well worth it!

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Another amazing example is that of the consulting company Filhos no Currículo, which invites companies to rethink working relationships and deconstruct biases about fathers and mothers. The initiative arose when Michelle Terni and Camila Antunes, the two founders, became mothers and were faced with a hostile labor market for those seeking to balance work and family life. 

In the United States, the emergence of brands led by women in the category of alcoholic beverages, a sector traditionally taken by men and thought for men, is remarkably interesting. Actress Eva Longoria launched her own tequila brand last year – Casa del Sol – inspired by the goddess of agave, Mayahuel. Yola Mezcal also represents this trend: the openly feminist brand, founded and managed by 3 women, seeks to promote autonomy for its female partners who grow agave and produce the drink in the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Stepping further, the brand promoted Yola día, an “all-female” music festival, completely run by women: on stage, behind bar counters, and even working as security guards. 

Women in power pull other women, creating a virtuous circle, as the numbers prove: a survey by the Women Entrepreneur Network Institute IRME 2021 states that 73% of women-led businesses are overwhelmingly female. Moreover, in this article of Endeavor we can see the direct impact that a leader like Luiza Trajano has on an ecosystem made up of hundreds of women, through her actions as an entrepreneur, mentor, investor and inspirer.

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There is also a growing and powerful movement when it comes to deconstructing the menstruation taboo. An example of awareness campaign here in Brazil is the #ChegadeEstigma, by Intimus – Kimberly-Clark®’s brand of feminine care. “The campaign challenges society to break paradigms and negative perceptions about menstruation, which usually place women in a fragile and limited situation”, explains the brand’s Marketing Director Samia Chehab. “It is more and more my role to give voice and make room for these causes and also meet consumers’ current expectations about an active brand positioning in society”. Another woman, Thais Hamer, CBA B+G’s responsible for Intimus brand, shares Samia’s view: “the freedom I experience at work today and the purpose of the brands I assist, such as ‘Intimus’, in synergy with my values, fulfill me and motivate me to keep building a fairer world, where there’s room for all, men and women.”

And there is more! A recent collaboration of Pantone® with a Swedish brand of menstrual cups has resulted in the red hue Period, in a campaign to promote menstrual positivity, encouraging people, regardless of gender, to feel comfortable and at ease to discuss and normalize the topic.

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Transcending business, the role of women in this pandemic must be highlighted. On the one hand, it is sad to see that the female entrepreneurs were the most impacted during this period, since they have to cope with double shifts – at home and at work. On the other hand, it is worth remembering that, from the 12 countries that have better coped with the pandemic, nine are governed by women. The positive role that the feminine view and handling can play in the leading of possible solutions with respect to the pandemic scenario, becomes clear.

Speaking of view, what do we see when we look inside?  How are we behaving, in our CBA B+G community, towards women? From which stance are we discussing this struggle for social change and evolution? 

Women are nothing short than 65% of our total workforce, and they hold more than half of the managerial positions (54%). Considering this large representation, simple but impacting initiatives have been sought and implemented. We have introduced, since 2019, an internal policy aimed at mothers, aware of the fact that during the first year of maternity it is hard for them to balance the roles played in their family, social and business life. In addition to the 4-month maternity leave secured by law, a short-time and gradually restored work schedule – in a home-office regime – allows mothers to resume the regular work activities 12 months after giving birth.

Working on the assumption that we are all exposed to structural contamination, gender issues are being closely observed, beyond the figures. As for example at the Board of Directors, where only one of the four positions is held by a woman. “Balance is the key-word”, says Shirley Rodrigues, HR manager. “The search for equity is one of the reasons for the internal study we are conducting to understand, historically, how our recruiting process and career development program have been driven, so that we are able to realize, in the course of time, if we are promoting gender equality, for example. And if not, what are the factors that cause this imbalance, in spite of our mostly feminine management environment – which has an active voice concerning promotions and bonuses. We want to understand which causes are structural – and therefore invisible to the arguments; which are cultural – and must be reviewed; and finally which are contextual and temporary… an on-going analysis and adjustment motion which, in spite of the two decades of operation, we are examining in-depth for the first time.”

From brands to products, personal stories to social policies, across countries and continents, and in all spheres, women carry the power of change in a world that longs for balance through pro-women solutions.  Finally, we would like to indulge with a time capsule, recalling now and forever, some of the icons of feminism. To print and fix on your fuchsia, cyan, black, period – or whatever color you please – wall!

Brands that want to grow in a healthy way have to be consistent with their purpose and focus on consumer needs. This is what we seek to show in our article that explains everything about portfolio strategy and brand architecture (if you haven’t read it yet, click here). For inspiration on the subject, we bring references from brands that have successfully extended their portfolio outside their original segments, seeking to attract a new audience and better serve the existing ones, without ever losing sight of their mission.  

Patagonia: from clothing to wine

Patagonia was known for being just a clothing and accessories brand for adventure sports. In 2015, it decided to take its mission further (saving the planet) and meet the new needs of its target audience by launching the sub-brand Provisions, which offers healthy, ethical and environmentally friendly food lines. Today not only does it offer food, but also its own beer and wine. Find out more about it here.

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Ohne: from tampons to chocolate

Who said menstrual care is limited to tampons? Ohne is an irreverent English brand that seeks to “make people who menstruate happier every day of their cycle”. In addition to offering products such as organic tampons and panties, it has a line of CBD-enriched chocolate bars, supplements and essential oils. Find out about it here

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Carlos V: from chocolate bars to breakfast cereals

Carlos V, a popular and traditional chocolate bar from Mexico, was fighting intense competition from other snack brands. By reviewing the entire brand strategy, it reorganized its portfolio to diversify its offerings and also conquer the adult audience. Today, the brand is present in breakfast cereals, chocolate drinks and premium lines such as Carlos V Reserva Real and organic. Read more about it here.

Starbucks: from the coffee shop to your house

The coffee shop chain has conquered the world – today, in large metropolises, we can’t help coming across a Starbucks on each corner. To continue with its mission of ‘inspiring and nourishing the human spirit’ and seducing the public that doesn’t drink coffee on the street, it lacked one thing: entering people’s homes. This is what they did by launching the ‘at home’ collection, which recently began to be sold in supermarkets in various formats, from capsules to instant coffee, and through partnerships with Nespresso. Read about it here

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Dove: from women to men

Dove has many successful line extensions that can be mentioned. Perhaps the most impressive is the line extension for men, expanding the concept of Real Beauty beyond women. Launched in 2010, the brand capitalized on a need in the beauty and personal care category, since at that time, few products were aimed at men. 

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Colgate: from toothpaste to electronics

Colgate’s ambition is to be the leader in oral care and to give everyone a reason to smile. As a result, it quickly extended its products to offer a wide variety of lines in a commoditized category. Today, there are more than 13 lines in Brazil that meet all needs and profiles, from Natural Extracts, which brings natural elements (read more about it here) to Luminous White, aimed at coffee and wine lovers. In the brush segment, Colgate has partnered with Phillips to launch Sonic Pro, entering the world of technology.

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Ikea: from furniture to restaurant delivery

Ikea is known for selling the concept of the “Swedish way of life”, with product names that are purposefully exotic and incomprehensible to the rest of the world. Its restaurants and Nordic dishes, located outside the store, have also become famous. Aware of this success, in addition to furniture and decorative objects, the chain began to offer several frozen dishes and foods inspired by Swedish cuisine. In 2019, the brand began testing delivery in its restaurant in Paris. Read more about it here

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Coca Cola: from soda to alcoholic beverage 

Do you already know the hard-seltzer? The drink made of lightly carbonated water and with 4.7% alcohol became a hit among Generation Z, for its low-calorie content and for being versatile in the preparation of cocktails. Coca-Cola Brazil, which seeks to refresh people in body and mind, and whose master brand follows an independent architecture (Ades, Valle Juices and Crystal Water are also part of the portfolio) acquired Topo Chico in 2017, debuting in alcoholic beverages.  

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Fragmented markets, multiplied channels, diversified audiences: it’s increasingly complex for companies to offer their products and services. Under pressure to grow exponentially, they often launch a very high number of new lines every year. In the United States alone, 30,000 new products in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) category are launched on average each year by thousands of brands (Nielsen 2019). But the expansion needs to be well done to work. The uncontrolled proliferation of new brands can confuse the consumer, diluting positioning and generating unnecessary expenses. 

In view of this reality, having a solid portfolio strategy, associated with a coherent brand architecture is essential to leverage its potential in the market, facilitating management, directing expansion and defining a clear vision of innovation. But what exactly are portfolio strategy and brand architecture – complementary yet different concepts, and what are their benefits? 

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Having a portfolio strategy is thinking of brands like a football team

For Alex Espinosa, head of strategy and partner at CBA B+G, “Portfolio strategy, together with brand architecture, is a journey through which the company defines, organizes and brings life to its vision in a way that is connected with its offer. Only then can it translate these elements to the consumer.” This makes them key branding elements, as they reinforce differentiation among competitors, in addition to guiding design choices and helping to outline a clear vision of innovation.

On the other hand, David A. Aaker, author of the book Brand Portfolio Strategy (2004), compares the brand portfolio to a football team that works together, where each member has defined roles to enable and support the business as a whole, aiming to prosperity and expansion. This view of brand management isn’t limited to large multinationals. Regardless of the size of the company, it contributes to:

  • Optimize investments, getting rid of unproductive brands and strengthening the identified key brands;

  • Guide expansion into other categories or segments, maximizing market diversification;
  • Clarify the positioning of brands, building brand equity and reinforcing the trust of investors and stakeholders;
  • Segment messages, products and services for each of the target audiences, making the customer aware of the proposals of each brand;

  • Ensure visual and verbal consistency of all lines and SKUs.

Polenghi: how the construction of the portfolio architecture strengthened the brand’s presence in special cheeses

Polenghi, the most beloved cheese brand in Brazil that has been on the market for almost 80 years, came to us to make a deep repositioning, seeking to capture its essence and attract new consumers. One of the major challenges of the project was to develop a solid portfolio architecture because the brand had never created one. After in-depth research, we got together with customers and consumers to structure it: we connected each pillar with its positioning and consumer needs (need states). More specifically, the new organization of products showed the need to strengthen the brand’s presence in the special cheese segment. This was the impulse needed to get rid of the Polenghi Sélection, a sub-brand that was not bringing the expected results and create Polenghi A Queijaria®, with the mission of democratizing fine cheeses through unique and uncomplicated products with a renewed identity. Read the complete portfolio repositioning and structuring case here. 

Website Arquitetura Portfolio Image Case 01 02Polenghi

Choosing the right architecture to structure the portfolio

Within the portfolio strategy, architecture is the system that establishes a clear value proposition for brands, helping their audience to identify them. In addition to defining the hierarchy and the relationship between them, it establishes how brands are perceived by consumers, their unique characteristics and how they satisfy their needs. Therefore, the architecture makes it possible to create a conceptual guide on how this portfolio should be developed and actually presented to consumers, including answers on how each brand should communicate, visually and verbally.


  • Aims to create synergy, optimization, and clarity, providing answers about what the company should do regarding the competition, and its market share.

  • A global view of brand management, prior to brand architecture.

  • Focused on the company’s business vision.

  • In-depth analysis of the role and relevance of each brand for the business.

  • Helps the company make decisions about where to place investments, which brands to prioritize, which brands to eliminate, and where to innovate


  • It aims to establish clear value propositions for each brand, and the hierarchy and relationship between each of them.

  • It’s just one aspect of portfolio strategy.
  • Focused on consumer engagement.

  • Structuring of the offer according to what was established in the strategy.

  • Helps the company to have a conceptual guide that establishes visual and verbal guidelines for each brand.


  • Aims to create synergy, optimization, and clarity, providing answers about what the company should do regarding the competition, and its market share.

  • A global view of brand management, prior to brand architecture.

  • Focused on the company’s business vision.

  • In-depth analysis of the role and relevance of each brand for the business.

  • Helps the company make decisions about where to place investments, which brands to prioritize, which brands to eliminate, and where to innovate


  • It aims to establish clear value propositions for each brand, and the hierarchy and relationship between each of them.
  • It’s just one aspect of portfolio strategy.
  • Focused on consumer engagement.
  • Structuring of the offer according to what was established in the strategy.
  • Helps the company to have a conceptual guide that establishes visual and verbal guidelines for each brand.

Together, they make it possible to build relevant, differentiated, and resilient brands.

There are four famous architectural models adopted by companies, which help them choose the most appropriate relationship between the master brand and the other brands in the portfolio.

  • Branded House: In this structure, the master brand is in fact the only brand present in the entire portfolio. Its attributes are used in a variety of ways to describe different products and services that benefit from its association. A perfect example of this is Fedex: you will not find any service that is not directly linked to the main brand.
  • Sub-brands: In this case, the master brand is the main reference, but the sub-brands add a new attribute that it could hardly carry alone. This is the case of the Iphone: the brand has specific attributes (ex: the name) but it also uses attributes from Apple (logo, look and feel) in a combined way that increases its power in consumers and strengthens the company’s presence in the segment of cell phones.
  • Endorsed: This model applies when brands are launched with independent positioning, but with ‘the endorsement’ of the master brand, whose name and logo appear in some way on the product in a distanced way, just to remind the consumer of its presence, generating trust. Nestlé uses this model a lot with brands like KitKat or Crunch, where the positioning is totally unique, but always associated with the company.
  • House of Brands: This model is the opposite of the Branded House, as it does not have a predominant master brand in the portfolio. On the contrary, each brand has its own positioning (what we call stand-alone). The master brand may be invisible or irrelevant to the consumer. This model is used a lot by giant companies that are synonymous with the category like Unilever, whose main brands (eg Dove) do not seem to have any ties to the company behind them, and have their own derivative brands.
In practice, most companies follow a hybrid model. When we look at the entire portfolio from a distance, we see that they use different structures at different levels. Google, often referred to as a pure example of Branded House architecture, is just one brand below Alphabet, its master brand that generates many others such as DeepMind and Waymo. Therefore, architectural choices are never obvious and must be thought of together. More important than trying to fit into a nomenclature, it is essential to analyze how each model meets the strategic goals and the needs of consumers, to create its unique structure.

I’m green: how the transformation of a product brand into a masterbrand expanded its scope in renewable sources

For Braskem, we designed the expansion of the product portfolio in favor of the Circular Economy based on the I’m green™ brand. The brand designated only one type of plastic resin produced from renewable raw material, the so-called ‘bio-based’, while other products from a renewable and recyclable source were scattered throughout the portfolio. When we looked at the portfolio strategy as a whole, we saw an opportunity to expand and bring together all renewable sources under one strong brand, the already recognized I’m green™. Thus, through the reorganization and transformation of a product brand into a masterbrand, we expanded Braskem’s sustainable activities, building Brand Equity. Read more about the case here.

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Where to start to create a solid portfolio strategy?

There are three fundamental elements to take into account when creating the pillars that will structure a brand’s portfolio:

Positioning: When creating the pillars, the portfolio must be connected with the positioning of the master brand, present or invisible, and all its sub-brands or endorsed brands, reflecting their values, attributes and personality, avoiding developing offers that are not aligned with your vision and that dilute your brand equity. Therefore, our portfolio organization always starts with a deep redefinition of the brand essence, as this will provide a clear direction.

Consumer needs (needstates): It is common for companies to segment by functional criteria strictly linked to their internal vision, such as price, channel or sales units. However, the most successful segmentation must be driven by consumer needs. Therefore, at CBA B+G we prioritize segmenting by needstates, which can be defined as the intersection between what consumers want and how they want it.

Business objectives: The portfolio strategy bridges the gap between brand management and the company’s business vision. Therefore, in addition to the positioning, it is necessary to keep in mind how each pillar and each brand meets these objectives and, if they do not meet them, the right decisions must be taken to ensure good results, growth and profit.

Carlos V: how the creation of emotional pillars, based on consumer needs, strengthened the brand and guided the expansion of the premium line

Carlos V, Mexico’s most popular and traditional chocolate, was suffering from intense competition from other snack brands, perceived as having higher quality and greater engagement with children. The challenge was to modernize it and build a unique territory while maintaining its historical legacy.

When reviewing the entire brand strategy, we saw the opportunity to expand audiences to also target chocolate-loving adults, re-signifying the brand’s fun and magical personality. Based on its new essence, we reorganized the portfolio so that each pillar was aligned with the needstates and brought emotional attributes. This helped define differentiated product features, which led to the establishment of powerful brand properties and a complete renewal of the visual identity of all lines. See more about the case here.

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Designing a coherent portfolio strategy with a solid architecture is not easy, which is why we help our clients to draw a complete vision of the brand, uncovering opportunities for line extensions and renewals. Polenghi, Braskem and Carlos V are just some of the portfolio strategy jobs that we have developed. We have many other partners such as Häagen-Dazs, Ninho or Purina. Come and transform your brand with us, creating clarity in your brand portfolio, based on deep positioning work. Click here for more information.



Goodbye 2021, long live 2022! 

After almost two years of pandemic, people around the planet have resumed their activities, with a burning desire to make the world a better place. 

To start off this new cycle on the right foot, we invite you to read the Useful Design Trends 2022, our proprietary report with 15 trends in five major areas, which inspire utility through design.  

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To access the report, subscribe to Blimp, our monthly newsletter which brings together exclusive content on branding and design. 

If this report has given you ideas, do not hesitate to contact us, to think together about how to make them happen.

A few weeks ago we sat down to chat with designer Fabio Sant’Ana from Braskem about circular economy and the opportunities for generating new business models associated with it. To keep the conversation going, we made five suggestions that include reading, podcasts, conferences and other initiatives related to this urgent and inspiring topic. 

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TED Talk:

Andrew Dent and the importance of thrift

How can we be smarter about the way we make and remake our products? In this TED talk, an expert on sustainable materials shares surprising examples of thriftiness and invites us to reflect on this concept. Check it out here.

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The first recycled goods shopping mall in the world 

Located in Eskilstuna, in Sweden, this stores in this shopping mall only sell second-hand or “upcycled” (products used in a new or different manner) products. Can you imagine that? Watch a video about it here.

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Colgate Latin America

The first recyclable tube  

Besides inspiring more naturalness through its ingredients, the new line Natural extracts is the first of its kind in Latin America to come in a recyclable tube. We’re very proud of having created its new visual identity. Find out more about the work here.

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“The tides have changed” 

Fe Cortez and donut economics 

In this episode of the podcast, activist Giovanna Nader invited Fe Cortez, creator of the  Menos 1 Lixo (1 Less piece of Trash) movement, to talk about ‘donut economics’ and how it relates to circularity. Listen here.

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The first circular shop

The chain’s first fully circular shop opened its doors in Rio de Janeiro, in the Rio Sul mall. The shop’s architecture is based on a circular design, with green areas, partnerships with thrift shops and Eco Estilo, a reverse logistics program. Even if you can’t visit the shop in person, you can find out more about the initiative here.

Interaction and transformation are the actions that guide Café+, the internal initiative of CBA B+G – a space to think about sustainability, diversity, inclusion and many other urgent matters. Last month, our guest speaker at Café+ Circularity, was Fabio Sant’Ana, Braskem’s Specialist in Market Development of Packaging for Circular Economy and Consumer Goods.

The almost two-hour chat was attended by a room full of inquiring people, who were eager to learn what the designer and entrepreneur had to share. Here are some passages:

How should design rethink the plastic in the packaging?

We are well aware that this is an urgent topic, and the market has changed a lot regarding the briefing for packaging production. In the past, progress used to be based on cost, performance and communication; today the scenario has changed; these factors are still important, of course, but other drivers, such as sustainability and convenience, have been included. 

The constant consumer movements demanding the commitment of companies to sustainability has led to increasingly complex environments. In this context, which requires an enlarged look, the circular economy model gains momentum, and design plays a very important role.

Tell us a little bit more about circular economy. 

The circular economy is a business model that looks at sustainability as an intrinsic part of the process of industrialization and monetization, unlike the linear economy model. In the latter, the high point is when the consumer buys the product, and the idea is to make him buy again. However, in that model, there’s a constant extraction of raw material in high volume, while the value of the product decreases dramatically after use, since after use no alternative is considered other than low-value disposal.

The circular economy model promotes reuse and alternative solutions for post-consumption, such as maintenance, remanufacturing, and recycling. If we focus on the reuse model alone, which proposes the use of products for longer, we will notice that different opportunities for new business models associated with it eventually arise. And this requires a design-oriented thinking.

What do you mean? How does the circular economy encourage new business models? In what sense is it innovative?

It is innovative in the sense that the focus shifts from the product itself, to services. For example: there are furniture brands that, being familiar with the practices of the circular economy, have developed a new service: the repurchase of used furniture (buy back service) – and doing so with an interesting and engaging narrative, proposing that old furniture gain a new life. Another example: not so long ago, it was considered top-notch for computer companies to be able to assemble their computers in two minutes. Today, their KPI is certainly moving towards offering a product that can also be DISassembled in two minutes… It is the application of the concept ‘reuse, recycle, reduce’, and this directly impacts the type of product that we, designers, have to propose and design.

In your opinion, what should be done to broaden the vision of ‘product as a service’ and engage companies in this issue?

It’s a complex path. That’s how we see it at Braskem: we have a short-term focused team dedicated to the sale of resins. Meanwhile, the market development area thinks of a medium and long-term scope, predicting and planning five years ahead, to build a future market for managers to act. So it is a construction; a long, continuous and extremely necessary transition. It is an exercise of looking to different directions and changing the way you relate to products. We need to face the issue of scarcity, and in this sense, the circular economy, as a hybrid model, presents itself as a viable path: it is more sustainable both economically – searching for solutions and models that replace use by reuse, the production of goods by the supply of services – as well as environmentally, proposing a greater balance of ecosystems.

It’s a controversial topic, even more so in petrochemicals. Thinking from our point of view, as a design office, what should be the approach with customers? Where should we focus first: on material resources, logistics, post-consumption?

There is no ready recipe, it depends on the market in which each company operates. In the food sector, for example, the attention given to packaging demands a specific approach, since it works almost like an extended concept of the health and nutrition that it involves. In the hygiene products sector, on the other hand, the issue of water consumption is crucial, so the approach can be sustainability in the industrial process.

But the entire industry, to a greater or lesser extent, is launching its commitments to sustainability, which are based on four pillars: material optimization; production of 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging; use of recycled and use of renewable. Based on that, it is necessary to look at the customer’s need and understand: where are they inserted? What kind of business are they in? What is your consumer’s journey? And how to integrate it with the packaging journey, making it more circular and sustainable? While industries think about efficiency, the FMCG sector also values other attributes, such as consumer experience. The power of the brand reverberates differently depending on the universe. All of this provides the consumer with different value propositions.

Indeed, there is a great opportunity to make the most of the consumer journey. How to design a product, thinking about this journey? 

Influencing the journey can be a starting point, but circular thinking is much greater. It is a responsibility of businesses and consumers. See, the world works in a linear way, that’s the challenge. Everyone has to compromise and collaborate from their position; it is more than sustainable packaging; it is a sustainable solution. The entire cycle – supply, use, reuse – requires a transition to new models of thinking and consumption. We are all looking for solutions, and it is not just about who “pays” for the changes.


In response to a growing demand for meatless products, the offer of vegetarian “meat” is booming – veggie burgers that mimic the texture, taste and nutritional benefits of red meat, with no ingredients of animal origin. Since the launch of the Impossible Burger in the United States in 2016, many other companies throughout the world followed suit. In Brazil, the concept is now on everyone’s lips, promising to fool even the most carnivores. The promise is daring, arousing everyone’s curiosity. But how is this surprising result achieved, and what does this tell about the product? Is this innovation really the answer to a more conscious consumption, as we’ve been told?

A perfect imitation… of processed meat

The techniques and recipes vary, but one thing is sure: to be able to mimic the taste and texture of meat by using just vegetables demands extensive manipulation and processing of ingredients. Animal-free they may be. Yet, they are not natural.

In the United States, the pioneer Impossible Burger is to this day considered the best vegetarian “meat”, due to its patented “secret ingredient” – heme. This molecule, only found in animals, is responsible for the typical succulence of meat. Using genetic engineering they managed to isolate and replicate the molecule in lab and then inject it in their burgers. That’s why the result is so great. No other competitor has this “heme” ingredient, but yet they managed to create very good burgers using other tricks, such as red beet to get close to the juicy, red aspect of blood. On each of the different recipes, the source of protein usually varies between soy and peas, and the fat comes from coconut or canola.

Along with these main ingredients, many others are added. The list of ingredients for highly processed food like this is usually extensive, as they have been extracted, isolated, manipulated and rearranged to make up the final product. Consequently, the faux meat can fake a burger and other processed food but is far from being “real” meat.

“The Impossible Burger contains Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12” 

Plant-based brands back up the surprise effect using the idea of a more conscious consumption

Future, Incredible, Rebel Whopper, Impossible, Beyond – the names chosen by the brands are an obvious bet on the fascination exerted by innovation. But after the first bite the surprise subsidies and the consumers seek more significant benefits. We observe that most brands sell the idea of a “better” consumption for individuals or for the planet.

Impossible proudly advocates that, with the consumption of this kind of product, we, as human beings, are taking a step towards a better future. Making use of the image of an astronaut, the brand implies that the impossible, a science fiction thing, is now real. “Save the world, eat a burger”, one of the taglines used, points to responsible consumption as a result of the technology created.

The Brazilian start-up Futuro has introduced veg burgers in the restaurant Lanchonete da Cidade and in supermarkets, announcing the quality of the ingredients used and the burger’s delicious taste, while its modern and urban look conveys the feeling that the plant-based burger is an updated version of the traditional meat.

Beyond calls itself the “future of protein”, a message that blends conscious consumption with personal growth, as if becoming a vegetarian would make one a better person.

But Burger King has made the most noise in the last weeks about its “100% plant-based” Rebel Whopper available only in São Paulo at the moment. In the commercial, young people savor the Whopper imagining it is the same as always, and then they discover that in fact it is not. It is a self-challenge, and a helping hand for vegans, that now have an option for their trash moments!

None of the brands declare explicitly that they are healthy, but many flirt with the idea through the visual identity, in messages such as “100% vegetable” and “plant-based”, and by using images of leaves and green seals. Who does not associate vegetables and plants with good health? All brands take advantage of the good reputation that veganism has earned lately, being regarded as a synonym for a healthy lifestyle, with several documentaries at Netflix catching on this idea.

However, behind the brand communication, how sustainable and healthy these plant-based products really are?

Not so good for me, not so good for the planet

As we have seen, Impossible presents this technology as a great solution for the future. Indeed, we are only beginning to see this kind of product. In the United States, Just has launched vegan scrambled eggs that look and taste exactly as the original, and is investing in high quality veggie meat. Millions are being invested, start-ups are blooming, large companies are coming into play. But is this really the perfect solution for our planet? We already know that it is crucial to eat less meat. But these plant-based products that try to replicate the experience that only meat products provide cause several ethical dilemmas, as some see them as a stimulus to shift from real food to processed and artificial food.

Paola Carosella and Rita Lobo, on the front line, uttering strong statements in social media, favor the idea that “in case you are a vegan, you should eat real vegetables instead of trying to replicate something that does not exist”. If we follow that line of reasoning, the plant-based products are a way found by industry to encourage the continuous purchase of expensive semi-prepared industrialized food, moving away from real food. Sure, it is a vegan option, however a processed one, instead of a chance of teaching people to free themselves from industrialized products, of learning to cook, of taking control of their own diet.

The claims highlighting the protein and its nutritious qualities are a solution for the dilemma faced by many wannabe vegetarians, who are afraid of not getting enough protein. But the source of the protein is not always made clear, it can come from soy, for example, whose healthiness in Brazil is highly questionable.

A more sustainable future involves not only the reduction of meat consumption, but also wider issues, such as educating the population to eat with awareness, enabling people to cook simple meals without having to rely on food that is impossible to replicate at home.

Plant-based meat brands must be responsible and transparent

he human capacity of doing the impossible is the most amazing fact about these new vegetarian “meat” products. I suggest trying them, as an alternative for meatless products.

However, to imagine that this is what the future holds is more scaring than positive. The consumption of this kind of food, like any ultra-processed food product, must be careful. When educating people to eat less meat, there should be a joint effort to raise food and cooking awareness. For this reason, brands should be very transparent and careful before claiming that those products are healthy or sustainable just because they are vegan.

Carmen Beer, Senior Strategist.

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