The purpose of a Brand Benefit Ladder is to translate product or service features into relevant psychological benefits for customer. The Brand Benefit Ladder is based on the theory that brands that connect with customers on a more emotional level build stronger equity and loyalty. Completing this framework forces you to view your functional attributes and benefits through the eyes of your target customer. The ladder also ensures that there is alignment and credibility between the functional and emotional benefits of your product or service. Once properly completed, a Brand Benefit Ladder can be used as a tool to create more distinctive and emotionally resonant marketing communications.
Why should our target customers care about our product or service?
- Identify your target customer. Use research to understand the relevant needs, values, attitudes, and behaviours that define them. Make sure you can easily empathize with this customer as a person.
- List the functional attributes of your product or service. Consider all of the specifications, features, and dimensions of your offering. Focus on those that provide your brand with a competitive advantage.
- Move up the ladder, and identify the tangible benefits that your product attributes deliver. Review each item listed and ask yourself “what functional benefit or advantage does this attribute provide?”
- Move up the ladder and take the perspective of your customer. Review the Product Benefits and ask yourself “what value do I get from that?” Narrow your list to the most compelling Customer Benefits.
- Move to the top rung of the ladder and review your Customer Benefits from a more emotional perspective. Go deep, and ask yourself “how does this brand make me feel?” Narrow to what your brand can own.
- Moving up the ladder, focus on those items that are valuable to customers and distinctive to your brand.
- Ensure your target customer profile is rooted in relevant and current market research to avoid bias.
- Revisit your ladder when your target customer, competitors, or product offering change significantly.
The Brand Benefits Ladder was first introduced by Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller
Robertson, Graham. “Beloved Brands: The playbook for how to build a brand your customers will love”, 2018.