Are you building something useful?

Be useful and be brilliant

Utility is one thing companies better think about as they work to connect with their audiences. With all the choices out there for consumers, if it isn’t useful, it isn’t going to stick or spread.

A couple of weeks ago I listened to Mitch Joel talk about this same concept. He talked about it in the context of brands having the ability to build a direct relationship with consumers in ways businesses have never seen. We won’t dive into that today but it is certainly something we’ll talk about in The Whatupdate. One example he used for illustrating utility was Charmin’s app, Sit or Squat (video click here).

This very useful app helps users find suitable bathrooms in proximity to where they are. As a parent of a toddler, this has utility. Charmin isn’t only showing bathrooms with Charmin or beating people over the head with ads of their super soft roll either. Their goal is to provide a utility app for anyone who finds themselves in a strange place when nature calls.

 Do you see how this application is useful?

Ray-Ban recently introduced us to Bright Light(video below or click here). It’s an app that helps you find sunny places in metropolitan areas. This is extremely useful for visitors or residents in a place like NYC where finding somewhere to grab some Vitamin D is challenging. Yes, the app is nicely designed, but creative with a purpose. It’s based on utility.

Not only does this apply to software but any interaction between a consumer and your brand. Marketing, Social Media, Customer Service, Product Development all have to have utility.

My questions for brands:

Are you building something useful?

Are you delivering it in a personal way with value driven design?

If you can’t see the video, click here.

What do you think, does utility matter?

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