brand love

brand love

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Marketing is full of myths, anecdotes, and long-held beliefs of what drives growth. I think part of our job as marketers is to continually question these assumptions.

It’s easy for marketers to get entranced by the idea that consumers will fall in love with our brands. Former Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts coined the term “Lovemark” in 2005 and popularized the idea that the aim of marketing was to cultivate “loyalty beyond reason.”

This idea continues to drive marketing strategy, despite the lack of evidence to back it up. Marketers frequently exaggerate the importance of their brands in consumers’ lives. As Byron Sharp has researched, consumers tend to be loyal to a repertoire of brands and “loyalty is often more a function of habit, familiarity and lack of caring rather than unbound devotion.”

I like how how Ad Contrarian Bob Hoffman articulated this in a talk last year:

“Creating a strong brand should be every marketer’s primary objective and the highest role of advertising is to create a strong brand. But our industry has taken these truths and twisted them into silly fantasies…

There’s a widespread belief in our business that consumers are in love with brands. That consumers want to have brand experiences and brand relationships and be personally engaged with brands and read branded story telling. People…have a lot of things to care deeply about. It’s very unwise to believe that they care deeply about our batteries, our wet wipes and our chicken strips.”

Or as Mars CMO Bruce McColl put it:

“Most of us go through life finding it hard enough to have good relationships with the real people in our life. Let alone all the brands we buy.”

Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years:

“Brand Laddering” June 2012

“Inside the Mind of the Consumer” January 2014 & September 2007

“Brand Loyalty” December 2016 & May 2005

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