May 21, 2015
As someone who talks about Brand Love every day all over the world, I want to make sure that brand leaders out there balance the emotion and the rational in their brand. As I like to say:
- Everyone wants to hear the words “I LOVE YOU”, they don’t want to hear it on the first date because that’s a bit creepy.
- Before people will say I LOVE YOU back, people want to know that the person saying it has a job, doesn’t live in their parents basement playing video games and doesn’t have a criminal record.”
In other words, there is a right time to say “I love you”, once you’ve established all the rational parts that establish your a good person. The same thing goes for brands.
Where does your brand sit on the Brand Love Curve?
In the consumer’s mind, brands sit on a Brand Love Curve, with brands going from Indifferent to Like It to Love It and finally becoming a Beloved Brand for Life. At the Beloved stage, demand becomes desire, needs become cravings, thinking is replaced with feelings. Consumers become outspoken fans. It’s this connection that helps drive power for your brand: power versus competitors, versus customers, versus suppliers and even versus the same consumers you’re connected with. The farther along the curve, the more power for the brand. It’s important that you understand where your brand sits on the Love Curve and begin figuring out how to move it along towards becoming a Beloved Brand. With the power of connection, the brand can leverage that power into increased growth and profits.
The emotional and rational parts of a brand must go together to create a brand that can be loved. Before we can engage personally, we need to feel comfortable that the rational side has been solved–it’s the same thing in how we engage in brands. Brands like Apple, Disney and Mercedes have a deep emotional connection, but an equally deep rational connection. Below, we categorize brands into 4 buckets: a) Sound Choice: high on product quality but relatively low on emotional connection b) Brand Lust: high on emotionally engaging but low on product quality c) Rejected Brand: low on both and an obvious recipe for disaster and d) Brand Love: perfect harmony of an emotionally connected brand backed by a sound product.
Watch out that as your agency gets so excited about the emotions of the brand, they don’t forget the sound fundamentals, or you’ll end up with brand lust or hollow brand love. Your communication must satisfy both sides of the consumers brain: the left brain which is logical, rational, analytical yet doubting and resisting that must be overcome and the right brain which is creative, passionate and emotional yet it can be easily fooled, so it looks to the left side of the brain for help.
When you go to your ad agency and say you want to create a brand that is loved by consumers, they’ll welcome you with open arms, because that’s the type of work they want to make. The only risk is that while they will be excited to take on the task of finding brand love, they may forget about the rational part of the brand and you’ll be left with a hollow brand lust, not brand love. We believe that a brand is a unique idea, perceived in the heads and hearts of the consumers, consistently delivered by the experience, creating a bond, power and profit, beyond what the product itself could achieve. Then what is the role of Advertising? It’s to create that bond with consumers, establishing your brand’s positioning and it must drive some type of change in your consumers thinking feeling or behavior–mind, heart or action–that leads to higher sales, share and profit. Where you are on the Brand Love Curve should impact your brand strategic choices and even your focus of your brand communication. Too many times, Brand Leaders ask their agency for emotional advertising, without even understanding what emotions they want. You look at the brief and the brand positioning statement is strictly functional and buried under tone, you’ll see 5 words randomly thrown on the brief such as “trusted, reliable, smart, authentic and optimistic”. But there is no true understanding of what is the ONE emotional area your brand should own.Brand Managers tend to get stuck when trying to figure out the emotional benefits. It seems that not only do consumers have a hard time expressing their emotions about a brand, but so do Brand Managers. Companies like Hotspex Research have mapped out all the emotional zones for consumers. I’m not a researcher, but if you’re interested in this methodology contact Hotspex at http://www.hotspex.biz Leverage this type of research and build your story around the emotions that best fit your consumer needs. Leveraging the Hotspex work, we’ve mapped out 8 zones in a simplistic way below:
Within each of the zones, you can find emotional words that closely align to the need state of the consumer and begin building the emotional benefits within your Customer Value Proposition. It almost becomes a cheat sheet for Brand Managers to work with. How it works is when you figure out which ONE emotional zone you think your brand can own, and just like a rational position, you can’t try to own them all. If we think of the world’s leading companies, Apple owns Freedom while Google owns Knowledge and they are at their best when they stick to those positioning statements.
Leverage the harmony of the rational and the emotional to create a love with your consumer
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