Over the last few years I’ve spoken a lot about love. Especially in the context of marketing. Lovemarks… Emotional connections with consumers… Getting people to “fall in love” with you brand.




Maybe it’s time for me to pivot my views.


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I read a few interesting thoughts on the agency blog from BBH recently. It’s solid stuff. I like the idea that people may fall in love with a brand, but what they usually want more than anything these days is just a great experience – delivered at the right time in the right place.


Not long ago I debated this with the CEO of a large media organisation. His response was that nobody wants a relationship with a brand. They just want solid reliable customer service that is fast, friendly and efficient. And there whenever they want it. As soon as they want it.


To be honest… brand love should (probably) be dead.

Byron Sharp and the Ehrenberg Bass Institute should have seen to that.

But many in our profession are still pursuing it.

Brand differentiation.
Loyalty beyond reason.
It’s all alive and well.

Perhaps because we have a fundamental need to be seen to make a genuine difference to society that goes beyond selling stuff.

Make love, not commerce.

Perhaps because it helps us to sell stuff beyond advertising to clients.

But by now we should all know that most people won’t love the brands we work for.
Yes, some people might, but they won’t grow our brands.
Because brand love is not a prerequisite to growth.

So what’s our role then, when there’s no love around?

To paraphrase Jenni Romaniuk, Byron Sharp and the Ehrenburg Bass Institute:

Don’t worry so much about what they’ll think about you when they do.
Worry more about them thinking of you at all.


Seth Godin likes to say that there are really only ever two reasons why people buy from your brand (whether it is a Purple Cow or not)

  1. They know who you are.
  2. They trust you.


This has a whole host of implications for everything we do, from planning to creative to measurement.

However, incidentally, it also does creates a role for ‘love’ – if one is keen on the metaphor.

Just a very different one.

First of all, we have to make people love our ‘advertising’, ‘publicity’ or ‘content’ – whatever you want to call the ‘advertising-like-object’ that reaches the many people.


So that they pay attention to it, remember it and subsequently think more of the brand – even, or perhaps precisely because of an absence of deep feelings for it.

Or so they might share it and talk about it and give us incremental reach.

We can make them love the packaging.


So it stands out on shelf and they can find and use it without much thinking.

Or so that the unboxing becomes a moment, to share and remember.

We could even make them love how they can try it, or buy it.


So that it is more memorable or irresistibly simple.

We can even have a go at making them love using the brand.


Designing rewarding experiences that help build a habit.

So that perhaps, there is less need for thinking.

So let’s ditch the love keys.

They will never love you.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love them.


Communications Designer @IBM • Climate Reality Leader • Lover of Old Business Books, Clever Technology and the NHS • Based in London, UK.

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