The Power of Love

All brands strive for loyalty, but the special ones go above and beyond, building something that moves beyond favourability into fandom and brand love.

Forming a stronger emotional connection with consumers, and not just being front of mind, should be an aspiration for many more brands. Not all companies will get the Apple effect with fans queuing outside Apple stores when a new product is launched, but this should not stop brands trying to achieve their own kind of emotional connection. Monzo is a brilliant example of a brand that achieves huge emotional bonds through its digital-first experience, a human touch with no human interaction – but oh the joy when you hear that familiar sound of a transaction being completed.

It is the kind of brand affinity characterised by customers feeling a human connection to a brand. It is not only increasing sales, it also reduces churn. Whereas a poor customer experience might be the end of a relationship with some brands, those which have an emotional connection with consumers will generally be forgiven and given a chance to put it right. They have turned customers into fans. Again we can look at how Apple dealt with its battery overheating problem with a no quibble replacement.

  • Loyalty without reason is all about the way brands bring themselves alive for customers, creating a true and deep brand experience. True emotional connections between brands and customers boost revenue as well as retention.
  • Building and maintaining this adoration relies on a brand always going the extra mile. It centres on, wherever possible, providing elevated customer service and experiences that show customers they are truly valued. It’s about how brands surprise and delight their customers and empower their employees to be able to do this.
  • It is about understanding your customer, their needs and the key moments in the customer journey. For example, just-in-time personalised messaging providing a helping hand when it matters – e.g offering troubleshooting advice.
  • Getting this right has the benefit of making a brand irreplaceable in a fan’s life, boosting revenue from purchases and making it more likely they will forgive rather than churn to a rival. True love indeed.

Then when you have built these brand lovers, talk to them about why they love your brand.

In a recent article Mark Ritson cited that the idea of brand love is readily overlooked and he believes “There has to be room in brand management for affection, love and loyalty”.

Those who spend more and buy your brand more often have unparalleled insight into what makes it special – and into what appeals to new customers too.

We need to get closer to why these consumers love the brand so much – why they forgive us our sins so readily, why they would pay double or triple what we currently charge if we asked them – and use the answers to bring others into the brand. If general consumers offer us a key to understanding our brand, brand lovers provide us with a much bigger, more obvious version.

So on this Valentine’s Day, where is the love in your brand?

Richard Hurst is Strategic and Creative Director at WPA Pinfold. He has over 30 years’ experience working on major branding projects and is an expert at creating cohesive internal campaigns with a one brand mindset.