Brands are increasingly offering useful services and experiences ('utility') as a way to stand out and gain attention. Big data, digital media and technology offer unprecedented opportunity for marketers to develop relevant and convenient services to meet and even anticipate consumer needs. Digital assistants mean brands can now extend themselves further, offering highly localised and helpful utility to consumers.

Definition

Branded utility is the practice of investing in services or experiences that help consumers or add value to their lives.

Key Insights

1. Effective branded utility is inspired by the opportunity to serve others

Branded utility was a prominent creative strategy in the Effective Innovation category in the 2018 WARC Awards. By starting out to solve human problems and creating useful tools, products and services rather than traditional campaigns, brands were able to reach new audiences, drive relevance and change perceptions and people’s lives. Award winning examples include India’s IDFC Bank’s launch of micro ATMs to make banking services accessible and approachable to the ‘unbanked’ in rural areas, and Dubai’s hearing-loss clinic hearLIFE turning radio ads into a self-diagnosis tool.