Stage 3: Love It
Reaching the Love It stage is a status few brands achieve. Congratulations. But don’t get complacent or you’ll fall back.
The Love It stage is where it starts to connect with the consumer’s life, whether it becomes a routine, a favourite or a ritual for the consumer. It usually takes years to achieve this status, but not always. With technology brands like IPods, they have reached Love It stage very fast. Not everyone stays at the Love It stage, many falling backwards because they stop innovating and being creative.
How the consumer sees your Brand:
Consumers start to become loyal to their brand, possessive and even outspoken. There is an emotional connection layered on top of any rational reason they already had. The brands they love become part of their life—usually expressed as a routine. They will switch stores before they switch brands and they will go out of their way to get to their favourite brands. It is tough to displace that consumers love.
Why is your Brand at the Love It stage?
There are three reasons why you are at the Love It Stage:
- Emotional Connection: The emotional benefits and the connection become more important. The rational benefits almost shift towards the reasons to believe, backing up that emotional connection. That emotional bond with consumers becomes a source of power that can be used against retailers, competitors, suppliers and even the consumers themselves. It’s this source of power that helps drive the efficiency into the P&L.
- Consistently Positive Experience: It becomes all about the experience at this stage. Brands need to drive home the consistency not just in the message but in the experience. Brand needs to become a beacon for all employees to deliver an experience that puts the consumer first and delivers an experience that matches the promise of the brand.
- Magical ways to Surprise and Delight: Execution matters. If you don’t love the work, how do you expect the consumer to love your brand? To ensure total passion, loving the work becomes the standard for which the work gets approved. Anything less is rejected. Brands that reach the Love It stage build in great marketing programs to delight the consumer.
Indicators that your Brand is Loved
- Robust Brand Funnel: Brand funnel has strength throughout, and specifically it beats the competition at the purchase, repeat and loyalty.
- Tracking Scores: Starting to see a broader user base and a strengthening usage frequency as it becomes part of the brand routine. Highly responsive advertising tracking means you can lower the GRPs. High net promoter scores help spread the word of mouth. Quick adoption of new messaging or skus.
- Share Gains: Even in a competitive market, a brand at the Love It stage should be gaining share and widening the leadership stance. Strong relationships with retailers and influencers.
- Healthy P&L: Should start to see a robust P&L driven by a strong topline growth number, a premium price position that helps increase Gross Margin.
The spending also becomes more efficient; with lower spend to sales ratios for both consumer and trade spend.
How to get beyond and go the next stage
- Emphasize the Experience: In order to establish leadership or challenge for leadership, brands begin to talk about the experience consumers will have with their product. It becomes no longer about the brand or product but about the consumer and how your brand fits into their life.
- Tug at the Heart to Drive a Deeper Connection: Build a brand story that’s balanced with both rational and emotional benefits. Speak in the voice of the consumer. Brands look to use positioning strategies to separate themselves, focusing on key targets, with unique benefits–a balance of emotional and rational benefits. Advertising brings the consumer front and centre, trying to establish a routine with your brand in it.
- Love the Work and Find Your Brand’s Magic: Most brands at the Love It stage find a certain magic in their execution that helps to surprise and delight the consumer. Executional Excellent matters. It gives you a chance to layer on More Reasons to Love: Find new product solutions, services or the closing of leaks that all help to re-enforce the connection with the consumer.