One of my pet peeves when I was reviewing plans is when I would see “Drive Awareness and Trial” on every brand plan, whether it was a brand new product or a 100-year-old iconic brand. To me, picking the right strategy starts with 5 key questions: 1) where are you? 2) how did you get here? 3) where could you be? 4) how can you get there? 5) what do you need to do to get there? But the question of “where are we?” is different for every brand and should help guide the strategies you choose.
Where are You on The Brand Love Curve
In the consumer’s mind, brands sit on a mythical Brand Love Curve, with brands going from Indifferent to Like It to Love It and finally becoming a Beloved Brand for Life. The farther along the curve you are, the more loved your brand is. That love becomes a connection and the connection becomes a power for the brand: a power versus competitors, versus customers, versus suppliers and even versus the same consumers you’re connected with. And that power can be used to drive stronger growth and profitability–increased revenue, lower costs, new markets and higher shares. For a deeper explanation, click on and read the following: Love = Power = Profit
So the Love Curve is not just about love, but it’s about power and profit. So in the simplest of terms, your goal should be to move along the curve, because driving more love eventually makes you more powerful and more profitable.
Let the Love Curve Guide Your Strategy
It’s important that you understand where your brand sits on the Love Curve before you begin figuring out how to move it along towards becoming a more loved Brand. Then ask yourself what’s holding you back, and look at strategies to move you along the curve.
If your brand is INDIFFERENT, it means no one sees any value beyond a commodity. Every new brand starts off as indifferent because no one has clue who you are. In terms of strategy, You need to establish your brand in the mind of your consumer, to drive Awareness and Consideration. For INDIFFERENT, here are four options to consider
- Mind Shift: drive a new position or re-enforce current equity
- Mind Share: get more attention than competitors
- New News: launching something new.
- Turnaround: focused energy on opportunities, leaks
When you find your brand at the LIKE IT stage, which is where most brands reside, it means people mainly think about your brand, but never really feel anything. They pick it when they need it, and while it’s a rational decision they make, they never really think about it when they aren’t buying it. In terms of stately, you need to find a way to Separate Yourself from the pack. Brands can either be different, better or cheaper. Or else not around for very long. At this stage you want to Drive a balance of rational and emotional benefits to close the sale. That leaves four options for a LIKE IT brand to follow
- Drive Acquisition: new consumers to try.
- Drive Penetration: get consumers to use more or differently
- Consolidation: get consumers to do everything with brand.
- Cross Sell: getting current customers to try other brands
At the LOVE IT stage, you are seeing signs of connection with your consumer. They are starting to crave it and build it into their routines. You are a favourite brand. You want to start using that love to Tug at the heart of your consumer and tighten the connection. The biggest shift here, is that the brand starts to become more about the experience and not just the product. The four strategies to look at are:
- Experience: shift focus from product to experience
- Maintain: re-enforce our Brand equities.
- Deeper: consolidation or broader usage of Brand.
- New Reasons to Love: target our most loyal users first
The final stage is BELOVED, which is that rare state only a few brands love. Brands like Disney, Apple and Coke. But be careful here not to believe your own hype because of the former beloved brands that have fallen from grace. You have to attack yourself and find ways of continuing the magic of your brand.
- Magic: Continue surprising and delighting your core followers.
- Create Feedback Loop: use social media to tighten connection
- Leverage Power: drive value from the source of power.
- Attack yourself: continue to improve
Let the Love Curve Guide Your Execution
Where you are on the Love Curve also should influence the Media choices you make. Most brands still blindly revert to picking TV, even if they are a loved or Beloved brand. That just means you’re driving awareness of a brand they are already aware of. And if even if you’re a loved brand, your media plan looks like you think you are an indifferent brand. On the flip side, new brands that think they need to be a badge on day 1 with a social media plan to influence people to influence others are just as bad. The big challenge here is to match where you are on the Love Curve with the strategies you’ve chosen so that you can create a media plan that drives your brand
And as you set about the objectives of your brand’s communication, you’ll also start to see how where you are on the Love Curve can drive your objectives. Start to think about what you want the desired response of the work you do. It’s not always just about awareness. You can start to see the desired response changes as you move long the Brand Love curve and it should.
In the presentation below you will see how where you are on the LOVE CURVE also impacts the product innovation and culture of your brand.
I realize the LOVE CURVE will feel new to many marketers out there. For many experienced and instinctual marketers, this might just be explaining what you already do naturally. You have figured out ways to feel comfortable in driving emotion into your brand. But for many marketers, as we move up in our careers up to Brand Manager or Director, the instincts are sometimes driven out of us. And we become very rational. Challenge yourself to find those instincts again. My hope is that the LOVE CURVE gives you permission to find your emotional side again. Because you now have the greatest “rational” excuse there is. You are helping your brand to make more money.
Where Is Your Brand on the Love Curve?
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To read more about how the love for a brand creates more power and profits:
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About Graham Robertson: The reason why I started Beloved Brands Inc. is to help brands realize their full potential value by generating more love for the brand. I only do two things: 1) Make Brands Better or 2) Make Brand Leaders Better. I have a reputation as someone who can find growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or a sustaining high growth. And I love to make Brand Leaders better by sharing my knowledge. I’m a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands. My background includes 20 years of CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke. My promise to you is that I will get your brand and your team in a better position for future growth. Add me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/grahamrobertson1 so we can stay connected.