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2014
versio
n!

a useful guide to the 


brand utility
ingmar de lange / mountview

@idelange
i love marketing.

i hate marketing.
!

marketing can be annoying.

but it can be meaningful as well.



it can do nice things.

even good things. 

!

the brand utility is an example.
i hope this extensive guide inspires brands to do good.
!

i originally wrote it in 2010.
this is a new, updated version.

!

ingmar
part 1.

the background
in the old days, marketing made sense.
take a bakery in a small village.

!

the baker had a personal relationship with his customers.
there was a daily dialogue between them.

there was a shared context, everyone lived in the same village. 

it was a special experience to visit the bakery.
the industrial revolution disrupted marketing.

the bakery turned into a factory, the village became a city.

!

the factory had no relationship with its customers.
there was no dialogue between them.
city life was anonymous, there was no shared context. 

it was just about the product, there was no experience.
now marketing goes back to basics.
big brands behave like little bakeries.

!

they initiate personal relationships with their customers.
their marketing is less about sending and more about dialogues.
they create shared contexts with their customers.
they do not only offer products, but brand experiences as well.
scale
industrial

age

now

old

days

meaning

in other words, marketing makes a u-turn.
how can

i help you?

but brands tend to forget the baker’s main question.
the brand utility is about this question.

!9
part 2.

what is it?
products

are useful.

marketing has a split personality.

promotions

are intrusive.
it is a
promotion

the brand utility combines the two.

it is
useful
homeplus turns billboards into stores.
domino’s shows the status of your order to promote its delivery service.
amazon uses its advertising budget to subsidize a free delivery service.
the brand utility promotes a brand by helping people.
chevrolet offers test drives to stranded motorists.
nokia connects people by offering silence booths at music festivals.
ibm helps people with its billboards.
stiegl offers a free public transport ticket to curb drunk driving.
nationwide’s app helps you on the spot after an accident.
volvo’s app finds and locks your car, shows its data and starts the heater.
car2go’s app helps you to book, find and inspect your rental car.
klm uses twitter to quickly help its customers, 24/7.
tesla offers free charging for life to ‘model s’ owners.
offer a service

attract attention

spectacular
service

a brand utility is a combination of a medium and a service.
but again,

this approach is

not new.
!

it is marketing

back to basics.
michelin has helped you to find the best restaurants since 1920.
shell has offered extensive sets of road maps for decades.
part 3.

what is

the effect?
preference

a brand utility can increase brand preference…
…because a brand that helps you, is more likable.
sales

but it can also directly influence sales…
orientation

purchase

because a brand utility can remove purchase barriers.
!34
browse and buy at amazon while you are in a bookstore…
uber's app makes it easier to book a taxi.
albert heijn manages your shopping list, making it easier to buy groceries.
heineken’s bar approaches you, so you can buy a beer more easily.
tesco sells products at airports, delivered at your home upon your return.
purchase

usage

a brand utility can also stimulate usage.
!40
nike+ helps you to use the shoes you bought…
amex helps you to manage your receipts after your purchases.
eneco shows you how much energy you use.
in short, a brand utility can make a brand friendlier.
but it can also improve the customer journey.

!44
part 4.

why is it

popular?
reason 1: advertising becomes less effective.
brands try to get closer to consumers by helping them out…
…because you can’t always be funny, but you can always be useful.
nike is useful for you, every minute of the day.
reason 2. digital media can do so much more than advertise…
…apps and social media become service channels for brands…
…these service channels become very intimate…
…since digital services are very scalable, they become mass media.
in short:

digital services are discovered as a new form of advertising.

!54
part 5.

what does

this mean?
digital is changing the face of marketing.

!56
most products are alike, there are not that many reinventions.
EXPERIENCE

SERVICE

PRODUCT

COMMODITY

the best route seems to be the emotional differentiator…
EXPERIENCE

SERVICE

PRODUCT

COMMODITY

but digital creates great opportunities for basic reinventions.
EXPERIENCE

SERVICE

PRODUCT

COMMODITY

ebay reinvented classified adds.
EXPERIENCE

SERVICE

PRODUCT

COMMODITY

airbnb reinvents the hotel industry.
EXPERIENCE

SERVICE

PRODUCT

COMMODITY

netflix reinvents television.
EXPERIENCE

the experience

is added value

SERVICE

PRODUCT

COMMODITY

added value is

the experience

digital brands are successful with a functional differentiator.
EXPERIENCE

SERVICE

PRODUCT

COMMODITY

google introduced a search engine that was functionally better.
EXPERIENCE

SERVICE

PRODUCT

COMMODITY

facebook introduced a better social utility.
in other words, digital turns the marketing hierarchy upside-down.
DIGITAL AS A COMMODITY

DIGITAL AS A PRODUCT

DIGITAL AS A SERVICE

DIGITAL AS AN EXPERIENCE

now the basic differentiators have the biggest impact…
DIGITAL AS AN EXPERIENCE

it is not that difficult to create a digital experience for a brand.
digital offers many tools to quickly create a brand experience.
DIGITAL AS A SERVICE

a new, digital service is more challenging…
a digital service directly influences a brand’s business model.
DIGITAL AS A PRODUCT

the experienceeven greater when upside down. the product…
impact is economy is turned digital changes
this changes the core principles of the value chain.
DIGITAL AS A COMMODITY

the experience economy is turned upside digital commodities…
biggest challenge is to invent new, down.
digital reservation systems were so successful they became a necessity...
in short, digital makes it easier for brands

to make an elementary difference.

!76
part 6.

some tips
tip 1: make daily things easier.
kellogg’s helps you to lose weight...
starbucks offers one of the most successful mobile payment services…
simple shows how much you can still spend.
xbox claims to have the most responsive twitter feed in the world…
patagonia shows you how to repair your gear.
high involvement

travel

toilet

paper

beer

low

insurance

negative

positive

tip 2: for advertising, brand involvement is always the same…
high involvement
low

2. book

tickets

remove

frustration

1. make

plans 

support 

aspiration

3.arrange

practicalities 

remove

irritation

4. share

pictures 

support

fun

negative

positive

…for a brand utility, the involvement differs per step…
high involvement

support

aspiration

remove

irritation

support

fun

low

remove

frustration

negative

positive

…so study the involvement with your brand utility.
tip 3: check whether useful is really useful…
…your brand utility is useful when people would pay for it.
advertising effect

campaigns

brand utility effect
tipping point

both

combined effect

tip 4: advertising can be a catalyst for a brand utility.
but advertising should go back to basics and share usefulness.
shoe

run

tip 5: brand utilities are not about nouns, but about verbs.
tip 6: a brand utility should have six characteristics.
tip 7: the best brand utilities eventually become a commodity...
part 7.

round up
be useful

!95
more inspiration?

www.socialmedia247.net
thank you!
ingmar de lange
ingmar@mountview.nl

@idelange

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a useful guide to the brand utility - 2014 version