Climbing the customer benefit ladder

Everyone understands the concept of a ladder. You start at the bottom and work you way up, rung by rung to reach your goal. That might be a light bulb that needs replacing, a bookshelf that needs reaching or (horror of horrors) a gutter that needs cleaning. There is another kind of ladder though. If you haven’t heard of the concept of the customer benefit ladder then you are about to learn something useful.


The customer benefit ladder captures the concept of raising the perceived value of a product by describing it in a range of different ways. Each way of describing your product represents a rung on the ladder. As you move towards the top you are seeking to add more perceived value.

Let’s get one thing straight right from the beginning. This is not about describing your product inaccurately or deceiving your customer. That is no good for anyone, especially your brand. It is about understanding what customer need you are meeting and the different levels within that need.

There are a range of versions of the ladder which all have some characteristics in common.

  1. Towards the bottom the focus is on the product, how you would describe it physically (rung one) and how you would describe it’s features (rung two).
  2. In the middle it starts to focus on the benefits is can provide. Product benefits first (rung three) and then customer benefits (rung four).
  3. Finally at the top it focusses on emotional benefits (rung five).

Here is an example describing our brand identity work.


A professional service during which you will meet with the provider, answer some questions, review some presentations and receive some digital files.

Product features

A fast, responsive service during which you will meet with our qualified designers, explore your brand strategy, review a range of creative design solutions and receive a full range of digital files for use across all of your customer touchpoints.

Product benefits

Delivered by talented, experienced designers who understand brand strategy, our brand identity work consistently provides distinct, highly memorable visual identity systems that quickly become associated with their brand and add tangible value for their owners.

Customer benefits

Working with an expert team of designers who take the time to get to know you and understand your business, you can be assured of a professional brand identity service which will deliver top quality work on time with minimum fuss.

Emotional benefits

Work with us and we’ll help you bring your dreams to life with brand identity based on robust strategy. Be confident that your brand identity engages your customers, communicates your messages and doesn’t get lost amongst your competitors. Know that your business doesn’t just look good it performs beautifully too.

This is just an example and not a carefully crafted end result but can you see how the language changes and how that affects you while you are reading? Useful.

How could you apply this to your latest business or product?


As always. Keep it simple. Try answering each of the questions below and you should have the five rungs of the ladder in a neat line. Which works best with ladders.

What is is? What does it do? How does it help? How will it help your customer? How will that make your customer feel?

Which you choose to use at various points in your marketing communications and at different touchpoints will depend on your specific marketing goal and where the customer is in the funnel. That’s something for another day…