There is a lot of debate (and dissent) in the industry as to whether ‘love’ can really be applied to the relationship between consumers and brands.
But putting that argument to one side for another time, we can have some fun playing with a creativity tool that looks at making connections in unexpected places.
The language of lurve - attraction, commitment, dependability, loyalty and passion – are all words that are often applied to the relationship between brands and consumers. The top 3 ‘most-loved’ brands in the US according a study last year are Amazon, Google and Netflix.
So, if we want to inspire brand love then we can look to some of the stages of romantic relationships to see where brands might be able to play.
In his book Romancing the Brand: How Brands Create Strong, Intimate Relationships with Consumers, Tim Halloran identified 8 stages of ‘brand love’ which you can use to identify where you are in relation to your customer from the initial meeting through to a breakup.
- Know yourself – in self-help book speak – you must know and love yourself first. You must be clear on what makes your brand unique, better, and special than anyone else’s – your USP. Only when you love yourself can someone else love you! There must also be an emotional connection for the basis of a long-lasting relationship.
- Know your type – how are you going find a perfect match, the ideal customer? And how are you going to make them ‘swipe right’ in Tinder speak? Your brand can’t be all things to all people. Being authentic helps.
- Meet memorably – Halloran says: “The first few meetings between brand and consumer dictate whether the relationship has potential or whether it remains in the mere acquaintance phase. It is essential that we establish connections that are so special and memorable that a consumer desires to keep coming back for more.”
- Make it mutual – We all know that the world of brand marketing in 2020 is not a one-way street. Experiential taps into this ‘exchange’ where the brand can interact and communicate with customers, and of course social and influencer marketing can deepen (and weaken these bonds). When we’re in love in relationships, we want to shout about it! We also want to sound off when things go wrong.
- How deep is your love? Most brand satisfaction / equity measures have statements such as this is “a brand made for me.” This is the phase where emotional associations are made, and trust is key.
- Keep the love alive – it takes effort and commitment to keep love alive - around 8million stems of red roses are imported into the UK every February for the marketing dream that is Valentine’s Day! Brands have to demonstrate that they appreciate their customers more than ever.
- Make up – If things do go wrong how we react can in a relationship can be make or break. KFC’s much-admired FCK ad around the chicken shortage is a good case in point.
- Or break up – Things change. We fall out love with brands, sometimes they abandon us by discontinuing products or we choose to break up with them as our needs change.
Once we’ve got over it, this leaves us free to fall in love all over again.
So if you’re feeling stuck for ideas today, try adding a little romance into your day.
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