Brand Essence in Selling

I took the family car to the dealership today to be serviced.  While I was waiting for the dealer’s  man to get some paperwork filled out, his screensaver popped up.  I just happened to be leaning over the desk so I saw what it was.  I noticed in the distance that it was on ALL the computers in the dealership as a screensaver…

It was a Brand Essence Wheel.  If you haven’t seen one of these before, a brand essence wheel is a simple diagram to capture the “essence” of a brand, and what it means to its customers.

Here’s one (which happens to look pretty much like the one on the saleman’s screen):


A blank brand essence wheel

The way they work is, you fill in the different areas with the words and symbols your customer uses to describe your brand.  For example, if it was an essence wheel for VB, you might list “refreshing” in the area where it asks how the product is descrbed.

The idea is that if you work your way in from the outside-in, you will gradually be able to focus your brand in just a few words – ideally one, but often in practice up to three “CORE” words.  VB’s core word might be “blokes,” for example, or “reward.”  Qantas might have “Australia” and Crayola “Fun.”  You get the idea.

Now these brand essence wheel diagrams have become VERY common in brand marketing – almost all major brands will have some way of capturing the same information.  And usually the information is used to communicate the intent of the brand to other marketers or internal decision makers – and to clarify exactly what the shareholders are spending their money trying to achieve in the minds of customers.

So I was really interested to see that the folks at the head office of this particular car company would have shared this (let’s face it, somewhat esoteric) wheel to all of the salespeople in their dealership.  Most sales people I know would have a good chuckle at this sort of thing.

I think it is a great sign.  This shows that marketing and branding are beginning to be the currency of sales teams as well as branding people at head office.  If sales people know exactly what marketing are trying to achieve with a brand, it is easy to see how the entire organisation can be far more focused on achieving the same goal.

The core word – the essence of this car brand – was:


And to see if anyone is reading, the first person to email me will get a bottle of fantastic BARWANG wine.  I’m not sure what their brand essence is (yet), but it tastes bloody great!

4 thoughts on “Brand Essence in Selling

  1. I was looking to describe the brand wheel concept to a professor at my alma mater, Drew University, in New Jersey and your post came up on the first page. I think you’ve explained it wonderfully in just a few words.

    Now, as the first commenter, would you really consider sending me wine all the way in the USA? If so, I bow to you as the better blogger than me.

    • G’day David!
      Thanks for your feedback!
      Ah, the wine. I WOULD consider sending to the states….The only thing is, I have already given that lovely bottle away. I will let you in on the twist, and the absolute truth by the way… to my surprise my mum emailed back on the same day and secured it for herself!!!
      But thanks for the reply as at least I know I have had 2 people read this post! 🙂

  2. I started using the Brand Essence Wheel to organise my thoughts for an assignment and wanted to know if I’m using it correctly. Thanks for this Post. I googled ‘Brand Essence Wheel” and your post came up. It helped me immensly!

  3. Well, I might be the third! I was looking for a some car brand wheels (actually, to use it as an analogy for a wine brand) but I guess it would be impossible for google to know that I’m not talking about real wheels, wouldn’t it?
    Any way, good post!

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