Current Issue Summary
March 2021 (Vol. 61, Issue 1)
Updating the Foote, Cone & Belding grid: Revisiting the Product Classifications of the FCB Grid for Online Shopping and Contemporary Consumers’ Decision Making
Named for the agency where it originated in 1980—the FBC grid is one of the most popular product-classification schemes in advertising and consumer research. Advertising professionals and researchers use the grid for determining ad campaign messages and for theoretical background. But, according to Hyuk Jun Cheong (Akita International University-Japan) and Yunjae Cheong (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies-South Korea), the FCB grid no longer reflects current-day products and consumers’ online purchase decisions. An overhaul is clearly overdue—not only to weed out obsolete product types like “TV consoles” and dated product references like “salad oil”—but to make structural changes based on today’s marketplace behaviors, preferences and purchase decisions. The updates, in fact, reinforce creative strategies that some big advertisers, like P&G and Unilever, have adopted already, combining both rational and emotional appeals even for low-involvement products.
The researchers surveyed 1,104 U.S. consumers to measure their levels of purchase-decision involvement against different product types. Participants also reported on the “think-feel” aspects of their decisions: whether or not the purchase was logical and objective, whether it was based on functionality versus feeling, and whether they preferred to make purchases or search for products online or offline.
Among the outcomes:
- Expanding the grid from four purchase decision quadrants to eight.
- Dividing the product types on the basis of shopping contexts—online, offline or both—that consumers generally engage in when buying a specific type of product.
- Replacing obsolete products with new ones, like smart TVs.
- Practitioners should not depend on the myth that consumers consider products exclusively through emotional values (e.g., design, colors, a brand’s sign values) or functional beneﬁts (e.g., durability). Consumers may ﬁnd products’ emotional and functional considerations almost equally important and evaluate them simultaneously.
Read the full article here.