What Is The Brand Essence Wheel? Brand Essence Wheel In A Nutshell

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?

Brand essence

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.

Key takeaways

  • 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.

Connected Business Concepts

Brand Essence

Brand essence is defined as the core characteristic of a brand that elicits an emotional response in consumers. Brand essence is unique to every business, and the most successful businesses use it to create a reliable feeling in their target audience that builds loyalty over time.

Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is a measure of how familiar a customer is with a brand. The greater the brand awareness a business enjoys, the more its products and services are recognizable to its target audience, thus, in theory, augmenting its long-term strength on the marketplace. Brand awareness is a key element of an effective marketing strategy.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.  

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Brand Promise

A brand promise is usually one or two sentences that accurately communicates what a consumer should expect when interacting with a brand. When a business creates a brand promise, it is making a declaration of assurance. Brand promises are often seen as extensions of brand positioning statements that explain why a business exists. A brand promise then tells the consumer how a product is service is better than those of a competitor.

Constructive Disruption

A consumer brand company like Procter & Gamble (P&G) defines “Constructive Disruption” as: a willingness to change, adapt, and create new trends and technologies that will shape our industry for the future. According to P&G, it moves around four pillars: lean innovation, brand building, supply chain, and digitalization & data analytics.

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