When was the last time you experienced emotional distress because you lost something you loved? While we experience this type of feeling in our personal lives, we, as consumers, tend to develop a sense of self-identification with a brand, which constitutes the concept of brand love – not to be confused with brand liking or brand attachment. The three components that comprise the theory of love, a triangular theory coined by psychologist Robert Sternberg in the 80’s, can be adapted to the business concept of brand love across various industries. Intimacy, passion and commitment are translated into sympathy, desire and commitment respectively, describing a relationship between a brand and loyal consumer who feels an emotional attachment and a sense of self-reflection with relation to the brand.
Brand Love Index
According to the 2016 Love Index Findings by Accenture, brands can determine their success and failures based on five FRESH dimensions that make up the overall Love Index Score – Fun, Relevant, Engaging, Social and Helpful. However, it is important to note that every geographical area and industry has select dimensions that define consumers’ love towards a brand. This particular study shows that the most popular brands among consumers were digital ones such as Google, Amazon and YouTube, highlighting the importance of technology and digital strategy as a way to connect brands and consumers successfully.
Strategies for Successful Brand Love Communications
Storytelling and Love Mention
Other brands, especially in the food and FMCG industry, display clear efforts to position themselves as a love brand in the market. An example is Ferrero’s Kinder Riegel chocolate in the German market, using its main ingredients as brand characters Mr. Chocolate and Ms. Milk to connect to young and old consumers through its appealing story telling digitally and at the point-of-sale. This is supported by heavy promotions and packaging, but also a website that has reserved a domain space of lovebrands.com, a heart favicon and other brand characteristics associated with love.
Another way of communicating a love brand is by engaging consumers in the decision-making and offering of customized products. Haribo achieves this with its annual limited FAN-edition. Placing the decision of flavor choices in the hand of the consumer shows a sign of trust by the brand, a key factor in developing brand love. So, start to create proximity between your brand and your audience.
Speaking the Millennial Language
The world-renowned chocolate brand Lindt, known to be more traditional, has also made a strong effort in casually communicating to its consumers and attracting a millennial audience with the HELLO campaign. Its playful language through the use of pronouns and its claim Nice to sweet you, has given each chocolate bar its individual flavor and a personality of its own. Aspects like the heart-shaped images and love mentions across the product category allow it to be interpreted as an effort to establish a love brand in the marketplace.
While the above examples highlight consumer-brand relationships in the food industry, brand love is visible in many other industries such as beauty, fashion and music. Strategies like storytelling, consumer proximity and speaking the millennial language are only a few thoughts on how to develop brand love, but the idea remains the same: we connect with brands and people the same way!