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The Brand Key in FMCG Marketing

Updated: Sep 5, 2021

The Brand key is one of the most commonly used Brand Positioning frameworks in FMCG Marketing. Unfortunately it somehow doesn’t feature in most marketing textbooks. So, without any further introduction let’s get down to the different sections of the Brand Key and what do they mean. The Image above elaborates the sections mentioned below through an example.

1. Roots

The Roots of the Brand Key model, looks at the values and benefits that are fundamental to the brand. These properties or benefits will not change even if the brand expands to categories other than the one in which it launched. For example while Dove went from soap to shampoo. Moisturizing benefit continued to be there along with other benefits. This is also visible in the product experience.

2. The people we serve

What is the brand TG? Make sure you define the consumer not just by SEC, Age, Gender and location but also in terms attitude and psychographic segmentation. Remember, that defining a TG is a process of making a choice. When you pick and audience you automatically say that you’re not relevant to the other, though the others may still buy your products.

3. Human Truth

This is the absolute crux of the Brand Key. The human truth or the insight. The insight and related tension is what the brand tires to solve. I’ve often seen Brands have great cultural insight that are not relevant to the defined TG. For example: Sugar is the new tobacco as an insight doesn’t work for food categories meant for kids as on the day this article was written.

4. The Brand Purpose: Now that you know the human truth you need to decide what do you want to do about it and how. This is exactly what’s written in the Brand Purpose section. For example the Brand purpose of charity foundation can be that the world should no longer need their assistance. Try and be more precise though.

5. Product Truth:

The product trust serves as the reason to believe. For example SugarFree is has Zero calories is a product truth.

6. Functional Benefits

The functional benefit is based on the product truth and not as much on the brand. It however must solve the problem that emanates from the human truth. So if the human truth is that the TG is unable to enjoy playing with their kids because of lack of energy then the functional benefit must be that of re-energizing.

7. Emotional Benefit

The reason Emotional Benefit exists is because in the FMCG industry often competing brands are not very different from each other at a product level. All juices, hair oils, Atta, etc. brands can easily substitute each other in a household. Hence Brands primarily stand to on the emotional benefit platform. Remember its one thing to develop a brand key and another to translate that into communication. If the functional benefit of your brand is not established the emotional benefit will not translate into brand adoption.

For example: Saying “Voloto stands for women empowerment” doesn’t achieve anything till the TG knows what Voloto as a product is.

8. Discriminator

This is the USP. The single most compelling reason for the TG to choose your brand over competition, or in case of category expansion, over competing category.

9. Brand Personality

Use human qualities to define the brand personality. Remember it’s not the TG personality. The brand personality should be defined in a way that the TG finds it worthy to engage with. In some case people might want to engage with someone similar but not always. For example if the TG is defined as anxious the brand would need to be re-assuring.

10. The Brand Essence:

This is, simply put, a one line summation of the Brand concept

To learn more about brand positioning and developing communication using the same, get access to this free course!

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