There continues to be a building love around the idea and building of brand utilities. Russell has done a great post about how widgets and applications are delivering this for a number of brands as well as the strengths of a number of online applications in general. Including everyones favourite. Nikeplus. It is a huge favourite of mine. I have utilised a lot in presentations and posted about it around a very similar topic before.
I often state that if you look at nike running shoes they address the individuals need of better shoes. Advertising then comes in and utilises slogans like 'Just Do It' to address the emotional need of becoming a better sports person.
In advertising we have highlighted the emotional territory or need for the brand to address but all we do is use it so say stuff. Brand utilities stops the talking and starts the doing. Its a way to activate brands and give them an actionable meaning or role in an individuals lives. A role if delivered correctly, will gain a more emotional meaning and hopefully an emotional attachment to the brand.
You could argue that another brand utility iTunes brought love and connection back to apple. How good would iPods be if there was no iTunes. We will never know. But could be an interesting way of explaining it to clients.