The FCB Grid is a strategic advertising tool used to develop effective advertising campaigns. It was created by Richard Vaughn and Young & Rubicam in the 1980s and is based on the concept that consumer behavior is driven by two key factors: thinking and feeling.
The FCB Grid is a 2×2 matrix that plots products or services on two axes: emotional and rational.
The horizontal axis represents the degree of emotional involvement or motivation a consumer has toward a product, while the vertical axis represents the degree of cognitive processing or thinking required to make a purchase decision. The four quadrants are as follows:
Feel-Good: Products that elicit positive emotions and require little thinking. Examples include soft drinks, chocolates, and perfumes.
Informative: Products that require significant cognitive processing and rational decision-making, but have little emotional attachment. Examples include financial services, insurance, and household appliances.
Hard-Sell: Products that are high in cognitive processing and low in emotional attachment. Examples include detergents, cleaning products, and some healthcare products.
Transformational: Products that elicit strong emotional responses and require significant cognitive processing. Examples include luxury cars, high-end jewelry, and luxury vacations.
The FCB Grid helps advertisers identify the appropriate advertising strategy based on the product’s position in the matrix.
For example, Feel-Good products might benefit from emotional advertising campaigns that focus on creating a positive emotional association with the product, while Informative products might benefit from more rational messaging that focuses on the product’s features and benefits.
How the FCB Grid applies to online courses
For example, courses that fall into the Feel-Good quadrant of the FCB Grid might benefit from emotional advertising campaigns that focus on the positive emotional benefits that come with taking the course. This could include messaging that emphasizes how the course can help students feel more confident, fulfilled, or empowered.
Some examples of courses that might fall into the Feel-Good quadrant:
Yoga and Meditation Courses: These courses often promote relaxation, stress relief, and mental well-being, which can elicit positive emotions and create a sense of inner peace and satisfaction.
Art and Creative Expression Courses: Courses that teach artistic skills, such as painting or drawing, can be enjoyable and satisfying for students who have a creative streak. These courses often appeal to people who enjoy expressing themselves through art.
Language Learning Courses: Courses that teach a new language can be enjoyable and exciting for students who have a love of travel or culture. Learning a new language can be a fun and satisfying way to expand one’s horizons.
Fitness and Nutrition Courses: Courses that promote health and fitness can be enjoyable and satisfying for students who have a desire to improve their physical well-being. These courses often promote positive feelings of self-care and self-improvement.
Personal Development Courses: Courses that focus on personal growth and development, such as goal setting or time management, can be enjoyable and satisfying for students who are looking to improve their lives. These courses often promote positive feelings of empowerment and self-actualization.
Courses that fall into the Informative quadrant might benefit from more rational messaging that focuses on the course’s features and benefits. This could include messaging that highlights the specific skills or knowledge that students will gain by taking the course, or the potential career benefits that come with completing the course.
Courses that fall into the Hard-Sell quadrant might benefit from advertising campaigns that focus on the practical benefits of the course, such as how it can save students time, money, or effort. Messaging could focus on the specific pain points that the course solves, and the tangible benefits that come with completing the course.
Courses that fall into the Transformational quadrant might benefit from advertising campaigns that focus on the emotional transformation that students can achieve by taking the course. Messaging could emphasize the profound changes that students can experience in their personal or professional lives, and how the course can help them achieve their goals and aspirations.
An example from MasterClass
Based on the MasterClass courses I’ve seen, it’s likely that many of them would fall into the Transformational quadrant of the FCB Grid, as they often feature high emotional appeal (e.g. learning from a celebrity or expert) and require significant cognitive processing to fully understand and apply the course material. For example, a course with a famous chef might elicit strong emotional responses from food enthusiasts, and require significant cognitive processing to fully grasp the chef’s techniques and recipes.
However, some MasterClass courses might also fall into other quadrants of the FCB Grid, depending on their subject matter and target audience. For example, a course on writing might fall into the Informative quadrant, as it may require significant cognitive processing to learn the craft of writing, but may not have as strong emotional appeal as a course taught by a celebrity.
Overall, the FCB Grid can be a useful tool for online course creators to develop advertising campaigns and positioning messages that resonate better with their target audience.