In this industry of ours, we’re all too familiar with the words ‘’loyalty’’, ‘’trust’’ and ‘’engagement’’ and oftentimes even ‘’love’’ makes its way into those conversations. But love is a big word, does anyone really LOVE a brand or is it just another positive emotion?
Is the love you feel towards your favourite brand similar to the love you feel for a romantic partner or friend? Probably not you’d say.
So if it’s not real love, what is brand love?
Research has found that satisfaction alone is not enough to keep customers loyal (Jones and Sasser, 1995). Many satisfied customers switch to competitor’s brand after some time, (Reichheld, 1996) whether for a cost saving or as a result of a word of mouth recommendation from a trusted friend or family member. Brand love needs to be about a relationship deeper than just satisfaction. Interestingly, according to Keh, Pang and Peng (2007) brand love includes intimacy, passion and commitment; and we all know if you have those three things with someone or something, it is very hard to stray and even the thought of doing so makes us feel uneasy.
So in a time where there is more private label competition than ever before, building and retaining brand love is no longer optional for our clients, it’s imperative. Over time, consumers have started to hold certain brands close to their hearts, brands like Apple, Disney and Coca Cola who really go the extra mile when it comes to engagement with their customers. It’s fair to say these brands all have ‘fans’ as opposed to ‘customers’.
Being liked is easy, but being loved is another thing altogether. Marketers should now focus on developing meaningful relationships with fans built around trust, loyalty, honest and reciprocal commitment – like a good marriage some might say!