Create personalized stock portfolios for savings or profit

One of my favorite sources for inspiration is Springwise. The latest issue spat out a few interesting ideas.  Mybrandz (perhaps seeking to be the “Bratz” of the investment world) is a stock portfolio (not an actual mutual fund that you can invest in but rather a faux fund) of “brands people love.”

Basically, these folks made a list of “cool” brands and decided to report the performance of this “stock portfolio.” Now, in fact, they’ve morphed this into a contest where brand fans can post content, get “hearts” awarded by the other users, and win a share of stock in that company. So, the underlying idea is really about marketing and getting people to engage.

But to me the more interesting idea is one that creates stock portfolios like this, personal tracking funds, for various reasons.

One is definitely vanity/marketing. The idea that mybrandz, which seems to be some sort of branding consultancy (there’s probably a Madison Ave. term for it, but here on the outside I’d call it that), creates a portfolio that is designed to draw attention to their underlying business. How about someone like Flextronics creating a portfolio of their customers, or at least of large electronics companies that rely heavily on outsourced manufacturing?

Another goal might be to double-down or indulge in your personal spending. AmericanExpress could probably create such a portfolio automatically from my statements of the companies where I invest spend the most money each month, or that have the highest number of transactions. What do I get from that? Well, if “my” companies are doing well, maybe I interpret that to mean that I’m good at identifying quality or value.

I could take that same information that “my” companies are doing well and I interpret that to mean that I’m feeding these expectations of growing corporate profits that are feeding the stock price increases and –whew–therefore should shop somewhere else. Indeed, instead of doing namby-pamby personal balance sheets for their clients, perhaps Ameriprise could just suck in account information from the other side of the house to identify quantifiable improvements in spending. Admittedly it’s a bit abstract, but that’s where we started.

Sales professionals always talk about customer results as a means of convincing new customers, with everything from 17% reductions in postage to airport terminal ads that say “Nike runs SAP.” Those are different methods of saying the same thing: we helped these folks — we can help you. Maybe if your sales target is the CEO/CFO of a publicly traded company, you should simply post the “McKinsey Portfolio Index” and let the chips fall where they may. The CEOs who won’t be impressed by this won’t even notice it, and the ones who will be impressed will, well, be impressed. The concept works best when you do all the work for a particular company so that you can claim the credit.

Do companies who use only FedEx do better than those that use only UPS? Well, the samples aren’t likely to be equivalent, but if you’re on the winning side of that argument, wouldn’t you post the data? Let the other side complain that their customers are in low-margin businesses and so the comparison isn’t really fair, blah blah blah. Hint: no customer wants to sign up to be part of the “low-margin business” crowd.

What other benefits or use cases do you see to creating your own stock portfolio like this? What would make you do it for yourself? Or for your company or business?