Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Branded Utility Has To Be Useful.

A lot of the talk about the interesting concept of branded utility being the wave of the future seems to me to focus too much on the brand and not enough on the utility. If you ignore the latter, you'll end up with gimmicks and there will be no consumer memory of your actions.

This might be because the cited examples are always sexy products like Nike ID, but Tide got it right and proved (maybe emphasised) that even "boring" commodity products can have a huge impact.

It's all about remembering that little things make a real difference.


Anonymous Tom said...

Asstd. Brand Manager - c. 2.45:

'What Tide did here today was come down and give people a little bit of comfort'.

Tide have done a great job here - and are to be applauded.

But what TIDE did here today was see an opportunity to generate levels of loyalty that would lead to increased sales at a later date.

I don't mean to criticise them at all - but it would be nice to have the consumer talking about the comfort, standing next to the Tide man, and then the Tide man saying:

'Look, to be honest - there's a real opportunity for us here to engender increased loyalty by coming down and putting on this service which works BECAUSE it gives people a sense of comfort - and then we hope that they think of us when this is all over and they are making their purchase decisions'

If I was the Tide Man's boss I would have told him not to do an interview unless he was standing next to a customer who could give his own side of the story.

4:27 AM, January 29, 2008  
Blogger john dodds said...

That's a good point Tom. We all know the motivations are not altruistic per se, but it's never smart to say what the customer is thinking. I have to admit it's been a while since i saw the videos and recall them containing anumber of customer interviews too, so I missed this point.

11:21 AM, January 30, 2008  
Anonymous Eamon said...

This is spot on in my view.

I have come across so much talk about how 'brand utility' will be the wave of the future and leave traditional creative advertising behind in its wake.

Yes, of course, 'brand utility' will be important.

But I think its importance has been over-egged.

- 'Utilitarianism' even has a certain negativity about it (Dickens, for example, savagely attacked the utilitarianism of his day in Hard Times with 'Facts, Facts, Facts' and then carried on in this vein throughout the book.

- People are people and will always be stilmulated / engaged by entertaining / emotional advertising.
Just look at the phenomenal success of Cadbury's Gorilla.
Just look at the entertaining / emotional advertising of Guinness (Guinness has practically built up a brand anti-utilitarian in approach: Guinness is exciting / intriguing - certainly not useful!)

I could give endless more examples where traditional creative advertising is doing really well (in traditional media environments as well as in new media environments).

Again, that is not to say that 'brand utility' won't be important - it will - but just to put things into perspective.

Eamon (

8:40 AM, February 05, 2008  

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