brand key model

The Brand Key Model as the Key to Success


It is often a challenge for companies that have a large number of products, such as multi-brand groups, to present and position themselves as a unified brand.

Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) producers like to use the Brand Key model to raise their profile to customers. This model is a slightly more modern and detailed alternative to Esch’s Brand Wheel, which can also be used to analyze the brand model of different brands in several categories.

For successful brand positioning and brand management, it is essential to know the competition. It is equally important to know your own brand and, above all, your own customers.

To see this side more clearly, the Brand Key is a good tool. The Brand Key can also help in the search for the right positioning in the midst of a confusing and sometimes over-saturated market.

Defining the Core Ideas of the Brand

But how do you describe a diverse brand model in a single sentence?

The brand’s “genetic code” will be found everywhere from brand positioning to product development. Think of something tangible first and foremost here. If you think for a moment, I’m sure you can think of numerous examples of brands such as the car manufacturer Volvo and the corresponding keyword “safety”.

If you want to define your Brand Essence, it’s worth asking yourself three questions:

  1. What are your goals?
  2. What exactly do you do?
  3. How do you do what you do?

Brand Key Brand Profile as a Successful Positioning Model

Once you have defined your brand DNA, four elements for branding follow directly.

  • Benefits: What advantages do customers derive from buying your brand?
  • Values: What values does your brand represent? (Your “personality”)
  • Reasons to believe: Why should customers really believe your brand promises?
  • USP: What unique selling propositions differentiate your company, your brand, from competitors and other brands?

You should formulate all four questions as precisely as possible. The more compactly you can formulate answers to these questions, the easier it will be for you to work with and on the basis of these answers in the future. This part of the Brand Key actively helps you to better understand your own brand and, if necessary, to readjust the brand image.

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Four Questions – Infinite Answers

Take a look at your “benefits.” Today, a low price is no longer a truly unique selling proposition for brand positioning. Nowadays, consumers also expect products to be of impeccable quality.

Instead, functional or emotional benefits are much more important. Yes, you read that right. Emotional benefits, because the decision for a certain brand can cause a positive feeling in the customer – and this is a valuable asset.

This can be almost anything from environmental sustainability to fair trade to supporting young single parents. Think outside the box!

Or have you found a way to implement a specific feature into your products that no one else has thought of before? Let your customers share in your creativity!

It’s a little more difficult to articulate your personality as a brand. However, in the Brand Key, this is one of the most important elements, because the personality of your brand will – indirectly, as well as the Essence – influence all further decisions in your communication and product development.

Facts Help Understanding

While there is certainly plenty of room for creativity in marketing, customers want guarantees. Reasons, or reasons why your brand actually delivers the promised advantage over other brands, demand hard facts.

Try to find an answer to the question of why your product, in particular, is the best choice for your consumers. Here, it’s worth cutting back a little on the creativity mentioned at the beginning and really sticking strictly to tangible facts.

On the one hand, these are easier for you to use in communication, and on the other hand, they are also much easier for customers to understand. They are also objectively comparable to other brands.

Once you have checked off these three elements, there remains one last look back at your brand: the unique selling point. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish this from the Benefits or Values, but it is worthwhile to define this characteristic as precisely as possible. After all, it gives you the opportunity to stand out from your competitors. With the USP, you actively help your clientele to choose you among all the other brands.

A View of the Environment

Now that you’ve taken an in-depth look at your brand from the inside, the next step in Brand Key is to also look at your competitive environment. Again, there are four factors to look at.

  • Root Strength: the values and advantages on which the brand is based
  • Competitive Environment: alternatives that the customer sees, i.e. other brands besides your brand
  • Target: the person who will always prefer your brand
  • Consumer Insight: knowledge that you have about your customers

A look at the visual model of the Brand Key will tell you that Root Strength is the foundation of the model.

Accordingly, you should also work your way up from your roots. What is it that you base your branding on, what are the benefits or values that have characterized your brand since the beginning? Again, the more precisely you formulate, the easier it will be to use these contributions later.

The competition and the target audience are equally important elements in the Brand Key. This is not surprising, as they are in doubt the same customers you are vying for with your competition with their brands.

Equally Important, but Not the Same

You should always look at your competition from the perspective of the target group. How does your customer see the market and alternatives to your brand? The more honest you are with yourself, the more accurate your picture will be – and the better you can position yourself in the middle of the market in the future.

It is similar to the target, your target audience. It’s no use if you want a certain clientele, but they simply don’t harmonize with your brand (so far?). Behavior, lived values and socio-economic factors are just as important elements that you should define in your target person as personal attitudes to brand-relevant issues.

The last factor, which is also the link to the inside view of your brand, is the knowledge you have about your customer. However, this is not about your “template customer”, but the real desires and needs of your customers, to which you want to give an answer with your brand, can or will in the future. Here, thorough acquisitions help to establish processes in the future that bring your position closer to your target.

Brand Key Conclusion

So whether you’re presiding over a long-established brand that you want to reposition as a brand, or you’re just breaking into the market with your start-up, the Brand Key is an optimal tool to break down your company, your customers, and your competition.

The necessity of such an analysis for brand management and correct positioning of the company on the market is probably clear to everyone. Only through deep understanding of all categories explained above, the right position of the brand can be found, thus facilitating navigation in the marketplace. Thus, necessary expansions of a brand, as well as individual company departments become clear. Additionally, you can always call on a branding agency to help with strategy and development.

You too can use the Brand key model to make a name for yourself and optimally address your target customer!


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