In the article ‘Beyond Functional Benefits’, published by Marketing News in September 2010, David Aaker re-classifies the brands’ benefits to consumers, trying to go beyond the traditional categorization between functional and emotional benefits. Aaker introduces a new category which helps to explain why some contemporary brands are so successful: the social benefits.

The opportunity to obtain a social benefit allows the individual to identify himself with a lifestyle, and meets the ancestral need of men of group identity, the fact of being part of a community, or a social environment with which sharing values and common interests.

Identifying these type of brands is pretty easy: you find them when the question “when I purchase or use this brand I feel part of/I identify myself with…” gets a positive answer.