"99.99% of the time people do not give a shit about your brand." Not very subtle, but Adam Ferrier's statement shows that growing your brand is not easy. Consumers are exposed to as many as 377 advertisements every day.[1]. It's the marketer's job to stand out. But how do you do that? How do you grow your brand? In this blog series, we explain how to use Category Entry Points (CEPs) to grow your brand.

Category Entry Points (CEPs) are relevant moments and buying situations when your brand is considered.[2]. For example, for a soft drink brand it is 'when you are thirsty', for a protein bar manufacturer it could be 'after exercise'.

And which car comes to mind when safety is an important factor in the purchase? Indeed, Volvo! This is because Volvo has used 'safety' in all its communications for many years. From television commercials to social media advertising. A good example is the recently released Valentine's commercial. In this commercial, the car brand echoes the CEP 'safety' by emphasising that they have been passionate about making safe cars for 95 years.

Source photo: Facebook.

Returning to Adam Ferrier's statement, it is crucial for a brand to pop up in the consumer's mind at those rare moments when it does matter.

It is important to increase your mental market share. This can be done by making clever use of CEPs in your communication, making you more relevant and increasing the likelihood that your potential consumer will think of you rather than your competitor at the time of purchase.

Once you have this place in the brain, it is also important to be physically available. If the consumer needs your brand, it must be easy to purchase. Coca-Cola is a good example of this. No matter if you are abroad or in the canteen at work, it is almost always possible to quench your thirst with a Coca-Cola.

Define your most important CEPs

In order to map out the mental market share, it is important to first formulate a number of CEPs. It is important to not only look at the brand from your point of view, the marketer, but also at how consumers perceive your brand and which CEPs they link to your brand. Then it's time to investigate how relevant you are as a brand within the formulated CEPs. Which CEPs are you already important and which CEP still have potential? Of course, this cannot be done without including your competitors. In which CEPs do they have a dominant position? Once you know your mental market share and have insight into your relevance within the desired CEPs, you can use communication in a targeted way for brand growth.

There is no single golden rule for this. Different approaches are possible. Take a museum, for example. A museum can make itself even more relevant within one specific CEP such as 'a day out'. Or a museum might claim several CEPs; not just 'a day out', but also 'being able to do physics experiments with the family'. However, it is important that you are careful with this, because the pitfall is that you should not want to link too many CEPs to your brand. This creates confusion and an inconsistent brand policy can cost you up to 23 per cent in lost sales. It is also possible for a brand to claim a new CEP that is not yet used by its competitors. And besides claiming a CEP, you can also make a CEP as a whole more relevant to the target group. An example of this is Tesla, a car brand that has made the CEP electric driving more relevant with relatively affordable electric cars.

CEPs therefore also provide a basis for making strategic choices. In addition, you can also check at an earlier stage, during the creation phase, whether the expressions for your brand already load the CEPs that they should. We also call this CEPabilities. Whatever strategy you ultimately choose, the most important thing is that you load the CEPs properly in your communication. If you incorporate your CEPs consistently in your communications, your mental market share will increase and so will your actual market share. 

Figure 1: Relation between mental market share and actual market share




Want to know more about CEPs and mental market share and what this can mean for your brand?

Watch here the free webinar or spar further with one of our client consultants.

This blog was written by Jelmer Wit & Melissa Trebes.



[1] https://uitbijter.nl/2012/03/08/hoeveel-reclame-ziet-u-per-dag/

[2] Sharp, B. (2010). How brands grow: What marketers don't know. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.