Friday, January 11, 2008

all the rage: Brand Utility

What is it? Why is everyone talking about it?
Brand values are in for a renaissance. The conversations needs to start with: how can we be more useful to our customers?
Charles says it well. Companies exist for a reason, they provide a product/service for customers. Marketing this product/service happens because of a promise made by a brand that exists solely because it consistently delivers on this promise. SO: if you don't serve the purpose you've set out to then how will you survive? You probably won't. That's where planners come in. We keep companies alive by continually finding relevance in customers' lives. Customers evolve and the companies/brands should be expected to do the same. Anyway.

Branded utility gets the most talked about in terms of the digital space because of 'applications' which are inherently useful. (Utility's third definition is the quality of being of practical use.) Bob Greenburg says it well here: "You have to understand applications and media; you have to have a tech capability in order to even think up some of these concepts." But you don't have to worry too much about going digital, the essence of what we're saying is: be meaningful, have a use, and stick to your purpose.

The Internet is an easy branded utility topic, because it was born from "tool blood." In this time-starved culture, we are not looking for useless activities nor do we want to purchase useless products. We still want our information: The Internet has created that demand, and it better damn well supply it.

But then the whole "make it an experience" comes into play. How can we make obtaining information an experience? And not the "college course" kind. This is where 'interactive' should raise its hand and wave it in our face until we notice. Adam (who I'm pretty sure is in digital strategy somewhere) says "Building a 'capture & release' utility for information is the way to reconnect a product/service to people and their need to experience things." Again, this does not HAVE to be digital. Just be wise when you create a message: does it contain something people want to hold onto for a bit? Do they want to share it? What WOM will it inspire? Capture & release can take many forms.

Think of the popularity of Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, Meetup, Ebay, Craigslist, blogs, video phones, text messaging, digital, digital, digital, etc. Gathering information with these services is fun. Gee, what a crazy idea!

"From my perspective the internet is redefining our expectations for all consumer experience."

I'll quit now and leave you with Scott's idea of experiences continuums. Now planners get to work on creating one, simple starter: Where does the Internet lie?

1 comment:

Caresse said...

Good for people to know.