Will Customers Fall in Love With Your Brand?

Author Brian Sheehan says that the key to any ‘brand’s success is to make customers fall in love with them. In his new book, Loveworks: How the world’s top marketers make emotional connections to win in the marketplace, he cuts right to the heart of the matter. In my interview with Sheehan he gave his advice on how to get potential customer to love what ‘a brand is selling.

Explain the significance of the Lovemarks argument.

Lovemarks is the theory that consumers can have an emotional relationship with brands that goes beyond respect to love. It’s significant because people use [products that are their] Lovemarks more often than they use other products. The average consumer uses their respected brands 26 days per year. They use their Lovemarks 119 days per year.

How does a company make a potential customer fall in love with them?

Brands that have successfully created Lovemarks consistently excel at four main development steps: discovery, exploration, inspiration, and attraction. [Discovery “is the search for the truth about your business;” exploration “is the process of getting to the truth about consumers, the revelation and insights;” inspiration describes the ideas that “come out of our most creative strategic thinking;” and attraction “is about inspiring consumer participation.”]

Who’s doing a good job at this? How are they doing it?

The book details many brands that are doing it well, including Pampers, Toyota, Cheerios, Guinness, Nike, Ritz-Carlton, T-Mobile, Visa, Miller High Life, and Lenovo. They are doing it by doing the four things mentioned above consistently.

What emotional reactors should brands use to connect with customers?

A brand is looking for consumers to feel it has more than tangible attributes, that it also has mystery, sensuality, and intimacy.

What should companies stay away from when attempting to develop an emotional marketing experience?

They should stay away from thinking like sales organizations. Lovemarks isn’t a cynical process. It starts by brands proving first that they love their customers.

What are potential ethical dilemmas when forming this type of emotionally engaging campaign?

The biggest ethical dilemma comes from making sure your product works well enough that it deserves to be loved, and that it continually improves itself to retain the love. Otherwise, it’ll just be a fad. Ethically, a brand needs to deserve the love it is trying to engender through advertising.

How does a company that has already achieved an emotional connection continue to elicit the same emotions from customers without repeating itself?

A company can maintain its core messaging for decades as long as it deserves the love it’s created. Its messaging needs to be fresh, but “Just Do It,” “The Pursuit of Perfection,” and Ritz-Carlton’s “Let Us Stay With You” are timeless thoughts because they encapsulate the core product and its relationship with consumers. They’re true to the brand whether they modify the messages or, even the taglines, over time.

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