FCB is a 2x2 grid model to interpret how your target consumers buy your product. Before we delve into the details, let us first understand the background of this theory.
What’s with the Left Vs. Right Brain?
According to a theory coined by Nobel laureate Roger Sperry, the left side of our brain takes care of rational decision-making while the right side cares about emotional attributes.
Decision comes under the spectrum of the above 2 polar opposite attributes.
FCB model is designed with this theory in consideration.
What is the FCB Model/Grid?
Richard Vaughn from FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding) created the Model in 1980.
FCB model is an approach to interpret consumers’ buying behavior and apply it to strategize advertising communications.
It divides decisions into 4 quadrants on the basis of:
1) Is the decision be taken rationally or emotionally? (X-axis)
2) How much money/stake is involved in the decision? (Y-axis)
Let's understand each quadrant in more details:
1. Informative Decision
Expensive products with a high level of tangible importance to consumers fall under the Informative Decision category.
Potential consumer first learns about the product in detail. After gaining sufficient information he/she feels the need (by the virtue of the product specifications) to buy the product.
E.g. Life insurance, Real estate, Utility cars, Mutual funds, Security systems, etc. falls under this category.
2. Affective Decision
Expensive products associated with emotional attributes such as love, belongingness, esteem, etc. fall under the Affective category.
Potential consumer first develops a strong urge towards the brand or the product. Then he/she learns about the product specification (tangible details hold low value) and make the purchase.
E.g. Diamond ring, Sports car, Expensive wine/liquor, Art piece, etc. falls under this category.
3. Habitual Decision
Everyday essential products with a high level of tangible importance to consumers fall under the Habitual Decision category.
Potential consumer buys the product out of awareness created by marketing efforts then learns about the utility & quality and purely on the utilitarian aspect he/she feels regarding the product.
E.g. Toiler cleaner, Soap, Bed sheet, Newspaper, etc. falls under this category.
4. Satisfaction Decision
Products of craving with a high level of consumer satisfaction based on emotional impulses fall under the Satisfaction Decision category.
Potential consumers buy the product out of impulse in order to feel the desired pleasure. After using the product, he/she learns about the product first-hand.
E.g. Cigarettes, Beer, Ice-cream, Clothes, movie tickets, etc. fall under this category. (Note: Now sizable strata of the population do check movie reviews before watching)
Summarizing FCB Grid along with additional Sextant Model.
Advertising strategies in FCB Grid
The FCB grid shows the buyer's decision-making process. This helps organizations to frame their marketing strategies also. So FCB is more than an advertising tool.
Following are various types of marketing that can be used to advertise/sell a product in the respective category.
Let us quickly understand each of the above marketing/sales tactics:
A. Personal Selling: When it comes to expensive products, consumer needs information (for informative) & assurance (for affective). Also, personal selling helps build a high level of trust between seller & buyer.
B. Long Info. ads: For purely informative products, customers would need to know more about the specifications, warranty, terms & conditions. Hence a long ad will help to clear doubts.
C. Direct Marketing: Direct Marketing is a way to sell directly to a consumer by eliminating any middlemen. It works great for Affective items such as expensive diamonds or sports cars.
D. Public Relations: PR is about creating a positive brand image of the company & product. Positive PR of Ferrari winning Le-mans or F1 affect buyers to choose Ferrari over Lamborghini.
E. Word of Mouth: People trust friends and acquaintances more than advertisements. Hence for Satisfier products, it is good to plan positive word of mouth.
F. Free Samples: For habitual products, free samples may help to convert consumers from competition to your brand. Also, as the product's value is low, it remains an affordable and effective marketing strategy.
G. Point of Purchase ads: In modern retail, you will see Ice-creams, socks, chocolates, mints, etc. kept near the billing counter. This strategy is highly effective in selling Habitual/Satisfaction products.
H. Trade Marketing: Incentivizing retail shop owners by providing higher margins or gifts makes him/her promote their product over the competition. It is a good strategy but be cautious about not to over-kill the Trade-marketing.
Sample report of Ad type based research
Sample report of Preferred medium
Sample Plotting of product type on FCB Grid
Journal of Marketing Communications Vol. 18, No. 2, April 2012, 91–111
‘Thinking and feeling’ products and ‘utilitarian and value-expressive’ appeals in contemporary TV advertising: A content analytic test of functional matching and the FCB model Hojoon Choia , Hye Jin Yoona , Hye-Jin Paekb and Leonard N. Reida.
Marketing Trade Journal, 4, XXIV, 2021.
ADVERTISING STRATEGY ACCORDING TO THE CONCEPT OF THE FCB MODEL IN THE CONDITIONS OF THE VARIOUS GENERATIONS Kateřina Matušínská , Michal Stoklasa.
Doctoral Thesis: An evaluation of advertising strategies developed according to the FCB Grid and Bendinger formula. by JOHAN CHRISTIAAN YSSEL