To USE or to LOVE?

Being in a one-sided relationship is HARD. No matter how much you try, when your loved ones don’t love you back it can be soul destroying. If both are up to use and be used equally then I guess it works, but when one needs more where does that lead?

With the rapid adoption of the leanings from Byron Sharp’s “How Brands Grow” I’m hearing more marketers say “I’m not focussed on brand love anymore, I just want them to use my brand more often, and ideally pay more each time. It’s no longer about focussing on building those that love our brands and rewarding loyalty, the commercial value is in driving penetration” (forgive the pun!). “Them” has replaced a tightly defined and focussed consumption and creative target market because there’s a belief that if you target too tightly you could sacrifice breadth (penetration) and the volume pay off of light users increasing frequency.   

So why do more marketers think it’s OK for our brands to be loved and not put any effort into giving it back, to have a superficial relationship? There’s obviously a strong commercial belief driving this, but isn’t it a little conceited to imply that it’s enough for our brands to give just enough emotional attention, availability and physical utility to close the deal but not put the effort in if people want to deepen the relationship? We want to be the brand in hand, the brand consumed, the brand that others choose over and over again, but do we need to say “I love you too”, what’s the return for that? and how best do we do it if we do?

Surely the return has to be loyalty, trust, and a sense that the brand wants to be in my life too, therefore making me want to sing their praises to anyone who’ll listen and never sway. For the Byron Sharp disciples, what if you could say "I love you too" without cost or draining resources, surely the ROI would be a no brainer!

As someone who prefers to love and be loved, versus be used by the people and brands I let into my life, I’d like to see more love being returned!

I’ve been extremely lucky to work on some of the most loved brands, and still do. The majority of brands saying I love you back have achieved this through mass market means. Some are sales driving ‘bribes’ that can also benefit those who were loving/buying you anyway like:

·       XX$ Off

·       XX% Free packs

·       Gift with purchase

·       Chance to win

But just like real life relationships, it’s usually the spontaneous, original or effort laden ideas that can say I love you so much better:

·       Truly personalised messaging to subscribed databases/social (surprisingly rare despite how long it’s been discussed?)

·       Random acts of kindness (e.g. offering to pay for your product in their shop basket when you see a customer at the checkout)

·       Real World experiences where the brand environment and people representing the brand make you personally feel valued

·       Personalised packaging that brings two lovers together in a physical and very public way that shows that both are willing to be seen embracing with each other

The last three are my favourites, and have played a prominent role in my marketing carer, with the last now my sole focus through My Brand And Me.

Seeing the delight on peoples faces when they are gifted their brand with their photo and message on it has been truly rewarding and joyful. Have a look at the photos above to see how brands can play bigger roles in these special occasions by making people feel loved back or check more moments out on our Instagram or Facebook

Would these brave brands be in these special occasions if they weren’t brave enough to say I love you back….? If you manage brands, what do you have to lose if there's no cost or risk?

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