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What are Category Entry Points, and why should you care about them in 2024?

January 30, 2024

Karen Chandler

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AI. New shopping channels. A cost-of-living crisis. The new spending power of Generation Alpha. Market share growth has never been as complicated as it is in 2024. But you can sharpen your competitive edge by building mental availability; ensuring your brand is at the top of mind wherever and whenever a consumer is ready to make a purchase.

This is where Category Entry Points come into play. As defined by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, they are the cues that consumers use to access their memory when making a buying decision, encompassing both internal cues like motives and emotions and external cues like location and time of day. Think Diet Coke with break time.

With a direct correlation between a brand’s market penetration and the number and strength of their Category Entry Points, understanding and leveraging them is essential.

How do you identify your Category Entry Points?

To begin, you need to start with the 7W’s; ‘Why’, ‘Where’, ‘hoW’, ‘With’, ‘When’, ‘While’, and ‘With what’.


The motive and benefits behind a purchase, for instance to lead a healthier lifestyle or to get a promotion.


The location of where the product will be used or consumed, for instance when working from home, or on the train.


The feelings and emotions behind the purchase, for instance feeling low on energy or stressed.

With/for whom

The other people who may be involved in the usage or consumption, for instance your partner, or senior management.


The timing of when the product will be used or consumed, for instance every Saturday or at the end of the financial year.


Co-activities that might occur with the usage or consumption, for instance a meeting or filling up your car.

With what

Other categories that might be purchased or consumed at the same time, for instance socks with shoes or popcorn at the movies.

How do you then prioritise these Category Entry Points?

As consumers have a multitude of entry points into each category, product or brand, you then need to prioritise those that are the most effective for brand growth. This is where we turn to the 3C’s.


How credible is your product, brand, or solution in this situation?


How many other brand or business are in competition for this entry point?


How frequently do buyers find themselves at this entry point?

Those with high credibility, low competition, and high incidence are those that are going to be most valuable. Having high impact, high effectiveness messaging at these points will help create brand memories.

Why should you then track these Category Entry Points continuously?

Identifying your Category Entry Points is only the first step. Once you actively start to build brand memories during these situations, you need to have a system in place to see which messages resonate, and which don’t. And it’s important not to forget that your competitors might also be working on their Category Entry Point memories too.

By measuring continuously, you can quickly and easily view your entire competitive landscape. This makes it simpler to promptly adapt strategies and stay ahead of your competition.

Nepa’s three step approach

1. Discover your brand’s specific Category Entry Points

Using qualitative techniques, we uncover every Category Entry point that might lead a consumer to your category. Generative AI is used to identify, validate, and analyse the data to minimise the risks of bias.

2. Quantify and prioritise your key Category Entry Points

A quantitative deep dive identifies the strength of your brand’s current Category Entry Points, and which ones should be focused on to drive growth in the market.

3. Monitor the development of your Category Entry Points

Both your brand and your competitors Category Entry Points are continuously tracked in our Brand Tracking dashboard, so you can make timely, informed decisions to grow your market share.