Brand loyalty isn’t logical — it’s emotional
The well-known ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi often talks of creating “Lovemarks”, which is their way of saying that great brands need to bond with customers on an emotional level.
This isn’t a new idea. For years, marketing has been trading on words like loyalty and engagement, and more brands than ever aspire to grow into a bonafide lifestyle, which can unlock all-new audiences and revenue possibilities.
So, why do brands want your emotional loyalty? For starters, deep bonds are harder to break, and they’re great for business.
If you look at emotion-heavy brands like Nike, Apple and Starbucks, people’s commitment to them tends to be irrational. They all do something very well, but they also have plenty of worthy competitors. How they attract and retain long-term, repeat customers is partly about doing their job well, but also largely about stirring desire and delivering emotion.
This is why every brand now wants to be a lifestyle brand – to create an overarching way of living that people can relate (or aspire) to. Thirty years ago, Apple made computers. Today, they represent a life of forward-thinking excellence. People put Apple stickers on their car because they think it says something about who they are.
It’s the same with other Lovemarks: the woman who won’t go a day with a Starbucks in her hand, the man who buys every model of Air Jordan. These brand relationships go beyond the need for coffee and shoes.
But with more competition than ever and all-new technologies, brands are now in front of you 24/7. They’re investing in strategic, around-the-clock marketing, often in disguise: Blog articles, tweets, GIFs, commercials, apps, web experiences, TikTok videos, Facebook posts and so forth. It all flows together in a steady stream that shapes your perception like canyon walls.
People often don’t even notice how often they interact with their favorite brands, but the likes don’t lie.
This is where it’s critical to have great creative, smart marketing strategies and a long-term vision, because if customers aren’t falling in love with your brand, they’re falling out. Endless opportunities to market and drive sales means lots of time to fill – and just as many chances to delight as to annoy or offend. So be careful. We’ve all seen countless companies and public figures erase years of hard-won loyalty in the space of a single tweet.
For today’s brands, big and small, getting ahead – and staying there – takes more than business intelligence. It takes emotional intelligence. It takes love.