In the hyper clutter space of advertisement what differentiates a good ad in interaction. So they key thing is that once a brand has been able to catch someone’s attention through an ad they just can’t afford to waste the opportunity.

This is where digital marketing ads a lot of value. The medium lends well to triggering engagements and can be used to ‘help’ or ‘entertain’ a person. Unfortunately a lot of digital marketing spends are still about ‘interrupting’ the person as opposed to adding value.

Welcome to the world of brand utility, where brands look to provide a useful service/ give people something they actually need – without demanding an immediate return. Now with the massive adoption of smartphones and social networks its never been easier to build and distribute digital apps that provide a clear value to people and in return create a long lasting affinity for the brand.

In this article we will briefly look at 4 ‘brand utility’ examples where brands chose to market themselves by providing a utility value to people

Stiegl – Free public transportation ticket on beer bottles

Design firm Demner, Merlicek & Bergmann came up with an ingenious way to help Stiegl dissuade people from drunk driving. Stiegl replaced the traditional label on their bottles of beer with a free ticket for public transportation. “The campaign not only helped to save lives but also promote Stiegl as a socially responsible beer producer”

Starbucks: Early Bird catches a discount drink




Starbucks connected its product to the act of waking up in the morning. They launched a app, called “Early Bird”. The idea was to encourage people to wake up on time.

The app was just like an alarm clock. If the app users pressed ‘wake up’ instead of snooze, they would earn a discounted coffee or other drink at any Starbucks store within one hour of waking up. This was a fun way that people at Starbucks decided to use it to connect with target audiences while helping them get up on time.

Nestle – Dessert – chocolate recipe idea app




Instead of pushing a standard message, Nestlé built an app to provide ideas of what people could make with its product. They explained how to have the best experience possible with it. The dessert app provided daily free recipes with Black Chocolate, Dark Roast, Milk, White, Caramel, Praline or coffee. What they created way more useful and interesting for the customers and hence got great adoption.

Sherwin-Williams – ColorSnap App




Imagine spotting the perfect shade of paint while out on a walk — and being able to translate that image into a palette at the paint store.That was the idea behind Sherwin-Williams Co.’s ColorSnap Glass, a free mobile app that the Cleveland paint company launched for users of Google Glass.

But even if you don’t have Google Glass or any intentions of getting it, you could still try out ColorSnap’s technology via its free mobile apps for iPhones, Android and Blackberry.

ColorSnap mobile apps let users upload photos of their room and virtually try out more than 1,500 Sherwin-Williams colors, varying them by light and intensity until they find a shade they’re happy with. They can then save the palette or share it via email or Facebook.

In 2009, Advertising Age hailed the app as one of the Top 10 ‘Cool Branded iPhone Apps.’

The case studies mentioned above are entirely possible, eminently affordable and very effective. This approach puts brands into the centre of people’s lives, at an appropriate moment, earning those brands attention and engagement.

The CIOs have a opportunity to leverage the advances in app development space to guide their marketing departments to bring to life branded utilities that provide clear value to people and help create a long lasting relationship with each existing and potential customer