How Brand Utility Can Help You Achieve Higher Customer Satisfaction

|Natalie Chan

If you’re a digital marketer, you’re probably already familiar with the term ‘brand utility’, at least in its most basic sense. For those that aren’t, though, brand utility is simply the process of connecting a brand to a purpose. For example, buying a cup of coffee from a standard café provides you with a boost of caffeine, but buying a cup of coffee from a coffee shop that donates 10 percent of proceeds to the local humane society gets a pup a new doggie bed. As such, the latter has employed the use of brand utility – they’ve connected themselves to a purpose that extends beyond their brand alone.

Brand utility doesn’t just have to be philanthropic, though. In fact, brand utility can be directly related to the brand itself, and may even require the use of the brand to perform. Regardless of the purpose that your brand connects itself to, brand utility is key to high levels of customer satisfaction. For a look into the dos and don’ts of brand utility, check out the following:

The Different Ways to Achieve Brand Utility

As stated earlier, brand utility doesn’t have to be philanthropic. Instead, brand utility needs to provide some sort of service, or connect to some type of purpose, to be successful. The purpose that a business connects itself to attain brand utility can be:

– Entertaining;
– Educational;
– Service-oriented;
– Useful
– Connective.


Essentially, the marketing strategy pursued to achieve brand utility needs to be doing something for people. If it’s not, then it’s not being successful in its goals.

Creativity is Key

A strategy for achieving brand utility isn’t something that you’ll most likely be able to design overnight. Rather, brand utility takes a lot of hard work and creative thought, as well as a unique approach and idea. Like with every other content marketing strategy, something that’s boring, isn’t original, copies what somebody else is already doing, or doesn’t really serve a specific purpose probably won’t be successful.

Know Your Audience

A key component in creating brand utility is to know your audience. The purpose that you decide to connect your brand to should be decided based on your customer base’s needs and preferences. Just as it wouldn’t make sense to offer free dog bones to cat owners, connecting your business to something that your customers can’t related to is purposeless.

Create Something Emotional

When people think about emotional engagement, it’s tempting to think about something heartfelt, empathy-inducing, or “tender.” However, humans are full of all types of emotion, including humor, fear, excitement, joy, happiness, calmness, comfortableness, competitiveness, and more. The marketing strategy that you choose to attain brand utility should trigger some sort of emotion in your audience.


Successful Brand Utility Campaigns

Keeping all of the above in mind – that brand utility is the process of connecting a brand to a purpose and providing the audience with something useful, that brand utility can be achieved in a variety of ways, and that creativity, knowing your audience, and triggering emotions are all important – here are some examples of fantastic brand utility campaigns:


1. Charmin’s Sit or Squat App

Charmin’s Sit or Squat app is one of the most ingenious displays of a successful brand utility marketing campaign there’s been yet. The app allows customers to rate public restrooms, informing other potential restroom users as to whether or not the restroom is sit-worthy or squat-only in quality and cleanliness. Not only that, but it also provides a great search capability that allows app users to find a public restroom when they’re out and about and need to go. Clearly, the app provides a service for customers that is incredibly useful, serving a purpose that many are grateful for. And, the app and marketing campaign completely resonates with the brand itself – what completes toilet paper more than a toilet?

Charmin's Sit or Squat app


2. Stiegl Beer’s Free Public Transportation Tickets

The German beer company Stiegl has made a big move by replacing the labels on its beer bottles with something much more useful to its consumers – free public transportation tickets to get home safely. Not only does this brand utility campaign provide a direct service to customers, but it also connects itself to a purpose that’s socially responsible, too.





3. Puma’s Clever Little Packaging

As stated above, the purpose that a brand connects itself too can be just about anything that’s useful in some way. While Charmin connected itself to something that directly benefits the consumer, Puma’s Clever Little Packaging campaign connected itself to something that provides both immediate satisfaction and a long-term environmental impact. The Clever Little Bag, which replaced a shoebox, uses less paper, less energy to make, and saves millions of liters of oil each year. The Clever Little Hanger, which is designed for sandals, is made of recycled pulp, and is recyclable. By creating a product that’s environmentally sustainable, Puma appealed to their customers that care about the earth.


Puma's Clever Packaging



4. Nestle Dessert App

Not all brand utility campaigns have to be designed to save the earth; some are just for pure enjoyment alone. Take, for example, Nestle’s Dessert app. The app does exactly what it sounds like – it provides customers with a bunch of different recipes for different chocolate-based desserts. The app makes use of some great images, and perfectly reaches its target customer base.


Nestle's dessert app



Why Brand Utility Matters

Just about any business has employed some sort of brand utility campaign, whether in the form of a charity drive, service to customers, creative app, or useful tool. Brand utility is used to better engage with customers, and to form long-lasting and meaningful customer relationships. When a great brand utility marketing strategy is put in motion, businesses see a growth in audience numbers, overall profits, and customer loyalty.

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Natalie Chan

Natalie Chan

Natalie manages Customer Retention for Outbrain Amplify. Prior to Outbrain, Natalie spent most of her career focused on connecting brands... Read more

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  • maria| October 29, 2014 at 6:06AM

    Great post Natalie- Knowing your audience sticks out for me because i’ve come across a lot of businesses all wondering why their engagement and online success isn’t what they want it to be but they haven’t taken time to understand what their customers want, the information they would like and need etc. without knowing your customers you will struggle to ensure you are offering them something of real quality


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