The brand essence wheel is a templated approach businesses can use to better understand their brand. The brand essence wheel has obvious implications for external brand strategy. However, it is equally important in simplifying brand strategy for employees without a strong marketing background. Although many variations of the brand essence wheel exist, a comprehensive wheel incorporates information from five categories: attributes, benefits, values, personality, brand essence.
Understanding the brand essence wheel
While most businesses focus on building their brand externally, some fail to recognize that building an internal brand is just as important.
For this to occur, every member of the organization needs to understand and embody the brand.
In other words, what values, behaviors, or attributes should inform and drive company culture? How can the organization ultimately practice what it preaches?
Some organizations have trouble motivating their employees to act in alignment with their culture.
This is because brand strategies use terminology an employee without a marketing background will find difficult to understand.
The brand essence wheel, developed by advertising firm Bates Worldwide Agency, simplifies brand strategy to increase employee comprehension.
Each wheel communicates only the most salient information, making the brand story accessible and providing important context.
Perhaps most importantly, employees who understand a brand are more likely to adopt behaviors that align with the organization’s outward-facing brand strategy.
As the name suggests, the brand essence wheel should only incorporate information about brand essence, the core values that support it, and its rational and emotional benefits.
These details are then used by employees in a range of operations, including manufacturing, training, human resources, finance, and of course any customer-facing role.
Essential categories of a brand essence wheel
Although many variations of the brand essence wheel exist, a comprehensive wheel incorporates information from five categories:
These constitute objective, surface-level facts about a company backed by verifiable data.
These facts may be found in a founding story or list of achievements.
They may also comprise the sort of information a company would include on a sell sheet.
What do customers gain from interacting with a company? What does a product or service offer that others can’t?
Here, it can be helpful to identify tangible points of differentiation.
Benefits can also be described in the context of how a brand makes a customer look and feel.
Do they appear successful, sophisticated, or affluent? Do they feel excited, spoilt for choice, or highly satisfied?
When an organization talks about what sort of company it wants to be, values are what it celebrates and promotes.
These values, as we mentioned earlier, are best exemplified when employee behavior is aligned with how the company is seen by its customers.
This describes the working style of an organization. What personality traits best exemplify the brand internally?
How can recruiting hire candidates with the desired soft skills?
Brand personality also encompasses the traits a brand should convey externally.
If the company was a person, what kind of person would it be?
Or a slogan, tagline, or short descriptor describing the “soul” of a brand and how it is differentiated from other brands. The brand essence must support the information from the other four categories, and vice versa.
- The brand essence wheel is a structured approach to determining the essence of a brand.
- The brand essence wheel has obvious implications for external brand strategy. However, it is equally important in simplifying brand strategy for employees without a strong marketing background.
- The brand essence wheel has many iterations, but five key factors give businesses a good starting point. They include attributes, benefits, values, personality, and brand essence.
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