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Creating a Brand Wheel

We are going to presume that you have now articulated a brand vision and mission and created an identity for your brand. Now it’s time to undertake the process of bringing together what consumers need and want, with your brand identity.

We are going to presume that you have now articulated a brand vision and mission and created an identity for your brand. Now it’s time to undertake the process of bringing together what consumers need and want, with your brand identity.

There are many different ways to do this. You can do a very complex brand framework or one that records your brand in a very simple way. In the branding world, there are lots of different names for this process from ‘brand essence’ to ‘brand wheel’. We are going to use the brand wheel.

The brand wheel we use has rational and emotional attributes on an axis.

Customer Focus

For the rational attributes, it asks you to think about:

  • How the brand affects the customer. What does it do for them? Here it is suggesting you list the benefits.
  • How the customer might describe the product. This is how the customer would perceive the practical benefits.

For the emotional attributes, it suggests you think about:

  • What the customer looks like when using the brand.
  • What the customer feels like when using the brand.

Brand Cues

It also asks for ‘facts and symbols’. These are highly recognisable things about the brand. Does it have a distinctive logo? Is there a colour scheme the brand always uses? This is where you list the cues that help consumers recognise the brand.

Brand Personality

Then there is ‘brand personality’. This is where you describe the brand almost as a person. Is this a fun brand or serious? Is it very precise or casual? Is it aggressive or gentle? This helps you work out later how your brand might behave or act.

Finally, the centre of the diagram features your core brand promise. This is the ultimate reason your brand exists.

Brand wheel diagram

Let’s try using a well known brand to practise laying out the brand wheel. We will use Coca-Cola. We are not suggesting that this is how Coca-Cola’s brand managers think about their own brand, but this is a useful exercise to learn to create brand wheels.

Think about the rational and emotional attributes of Coca-Cola.

For the rational attributes, you might consider:

  • How the brand affects the customer. What does it do for them? This is where you can list practical benefits such as the drink quenching thirst, satisfying the customer or being accessible and easy to buy.
  • How the customer might describe the product. This is where you can list the practical ways that the customer might describe what Coca-Cola, including descriptions like how fizzy or sweet it is.

For the emotional attributes, you’re looking to list:

  • What the customer looks like, using the brand. This could be things such as youthful, casual or sociable, as Coca-Cola is a drink often drunk and shared with friends out at a café or bar.
  • What the customer feels like when using the brand. This might be happy, treated to something nice or refreshed.

For facts and symbols, think about what you naturally associate with Coca-Cola. This might include the distinctive logo and font. The drink also has an iconic bottle that can be easily recognised. The colours red and white are very important to Coca-Cola, so much so that the red-and-white Coca-Cola version of Santa Claus featured in adverts, has become default.

The brand personality section for Coca-Cola is all about personality traits like fun, friendly, cheerful and upbeat. Coca-Cola is an inexpensive treat that you can enjoy with friends or alone, so its personality words are positive.

Finally, the brand promise. Coca-Cola is the original soft drink and its iconic tagline ‘the real thing’ sums up its brand promise well. The Coca-Cola brand promise is about authenticity and being classic.

Brand wheel diagram for Coca-Cola

Can you think of any other positive words or associations we could have added to our Coca-Cola brand wheel?

This article is from the free online

Strategic Brand Management with Advertising Week

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