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The FCB Involvement Grid

This matrix was developed by Foot, Cone & Belding and marries the way consumers approach the purchase process with the selling strategy you should adopt for maximum ROI of your budgets.
This is also a good revisit when you feel you have a strong communication idea but feel that the consumer is just not picking it up.
Before you delve into this model, you should understand various levels of “involvement” in products and the concept of “think vs feel” in purchase process. Take a look at the scatter plot of different products below. Various products have been aligned across Involvement (Y axis) and Think vs Feel (X axis).
FCB matrix
There are quite a few variables that drive the level of involvement up or down, such as – Price and Frequency of Purchase (eg. Car vs. Cookies), Social Visibility (Jeans vs. Inner wear), Risk involved (Skin cream vs. Newspaper), Commitment of time (Refrigerator vs. Paper Towels), Complexity of purchase (Credit Card vs. Beer).
Do note that as products go through different stages in product life cycles and innovation, they undergo change in involvement as well.

Think vs. Feel
The consumer purchases many products by either thinking first (say while purchasing credit cards, insurance, family car) or driven by feeling first (say while purchasing jams, beer or a sports car)

How to use the matrix

The four quadrants have been segmented into four buy types – Informative, Affective, Habitual and Satisfaction. Each of these segments requires a distinct communication style, communication media and levels of repetition.
FCB matrix 2

Key Driver – “Demonstration”
Typical Categories – Electronics, Financial services (Credit cards, Insurance)
Type of Purchase – Learn, Feel, Do
The purchase process for an average consumer in these type of categories is generally quite confusing and not very enjoyable. Your strategy should revolve around helping the consumer make quick choices – typically between costs vs product specs, information, warranties, service, etc.
Creative Strategy – Detailed information, Product Demonstrations
Media Strategy – Long Copy format, Print, Infomercials
Do note – As a lot of electronics (think of PCs) slip down on levels of involvement and frequency of purchase (once in 5 yrs to say 2 yrs), the buying behaviour would become more habitual. Watch the communication style adapt to that.
Informative ads

Key Driver – “Impact”
Typical Categories – Luxury goods, Beauty products.
Type of Purchase – Feel, Learn, Do
These product categories are often imagery driven purchases, wherein a ‘self image’ is bought by the consumer. The communication strategy should also revolve around creating ‘that’ aura behind the brand.
Creative Strategy – Focus on Execution, Strong, Impactful visuals
Media Strategy – Large Space, Spread ads, Image specials, TV with visual impact.

Key Driver – “Reminder”
Typical Categories – Mostly household items that form part of your shopping list once a month (Razor blades, bleach, washing powder, Toothpaste).
Type of Purchase – Do, Learn, Feel
Marketing wars here are won by differentiation and generation of loyalty. These are quite mundane purchases and the trick is to develop audio / visual cues that can quickly develop top of mind loyalty – visual mnemonics, slogans, jingles – catch the right one and you are home !
Product claims can also work sometimes (“80% whiter clothes” – whatever that means).
Creative Strategy – Reminder ads, repetition, Catchy slogans, Jingles
Media Strategy – Point of Sale, TV, Radio, Small space ads.
Surf excel

Key Driver – “Attention”
Typical Categories – Beer, Colas, Cigarettes, Juices, Sauces, Deodorants
Type of Purchase – Do, Feel, Learn
These are often impulse buys aimed at ‘Satisfaction’. While the stated need is ‘taste’, ‘smell’, ‘flavour’; a deeper need is to satisfy feel good factors or a deeper bond between the user and the product.
Creative Strategy – Attention getting, Drive Impulse purchase, Imagery
Media Strategy – Newspapers, Bill boards, Point of Sale
Coke Bill board open happiness

What to do next?
Essential in new products or when analysing communication strategies.

Further Recommended Reading
There are quite a few books on the involvement angle and the think/feel angle of purchase.



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