Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Brands telling us we love them - is that really brand love...?

From my book Love Branding:

"We have all met people who talk about nothing but themselves, who just brag and nervously present a range of information about how fabulously interesting they are. Without asking one single question about you they probably make assumptions about your life as well, analyzing you without knowing much.

Brands that don’t pay attention to the true needs of their customers will fail just in the same way as those egocentric people do. The egocentric single won´t get a second date, and neither will your brand if it´s too full of itself. When a brand goes out and shouts, “I’m unique, pick me,” without paying attention to their customers or the world these customers live in, the brand will lose our interest – and our money. I’ve met hundreds of entrepreneurs who only talk about who they are, not about what they can do for the customer, or how they can please the market. It’s me-centric and inefficient.

Keep your ear to the ground and listen to what your customers want; consumer insights are necessary if you want to reach success with your business. You might have a fantastic product, but if it´s the product that is in the centre and not the user, you will still fail.

“The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.”  Dale Carnegie

Two examples of this are the TV commercials for Weber barbeques, in which a customer repeatedly says, “I love my Q,” and the campaign for the Mitsubishi in which couples talk about their appreciation of the car´s features by saying: “I love my Lancer”. Another example of an egocentric lover on the brand scene is Honda, who has a fan club at Facebook, talking about how people love the brand:

When creating fan pages, Twitter accounts, or talking about how the customers are already in love with a brand, you may initially draw in those who are closely connected to the brand, but will you get more new customers coming? To some degree this approach will gain referrals, since the brand is top of our mind and the ads remind people about their brand love, but if the customers are not actually receiving love in their interaction with the brand, the brand is in serious trouble.

Don´t just focus on THEIR love for YOU, but also show you care for every customer by giving, giving, giving. Don´t open a fan page on Facebook just to market yourself. Open a page to serve.

A brand like the Australian icon Tim Tam, which is genuinely loved by a lot of Australians, can get away with a special love Tim Tam edition. The brand is loved because it delivers something people like – tasty chocolate biscuits – and it´s probably also connecting to customers´ childhood memories, patriotic values, and other positive emotions. By adding some ‘love’ you can make customers aware of their love for a brand, but if Tim Tam had been a new brand I doubt that love hearts would have made any difference.

Cashing in on the work done in the past – such as building customer loyalty and admiration through delivery of good products and emotional value – can work for a while. Honda, Tim Tam or McDonalds customers can play along and say “yes, thanks for reminding me of my love for you,” but the approach has flaws:

-          You are not creating NEW love or MORE love because you are not giving more value.
-          The customer may feel used. The brand is egocentric and wants to be told it is loved, but for the customer that might feel like the relationship is out of balance; then your brand loses the love that was once there."

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