Branding: From TRADEMARK to LOVEMARK

Question: Can you possibly develop a relationship with a brand the same way you would be in an intimate relationship with a friend?

As absurd as this might sound, it’s been proven time and again that the strength of a brand lies in its ability to connect with its customer not just on a rational level (in the head), but more importantly on an emotional level (in the heart).

Really, it’s about transforming your brand from a trademark to a lovemark.

So it’s about making customers fall in love with your brand, right? Truth is, there’s a strong connection between branding and dating, the same principles actually hold both together.

Let’s imagine for a moment that customers were “dating” our brand…what are those things required to keep the love alive?

  1. Know who you are: I use “who’’ here because it is assumed that the brand is a person, someone we are in a relationship with. It is first and foremost, important to define the personality of a brand. What makes brand A different from brand B? Why should customers prefer brand A to brand B? It is this “knowing” that will form the basis for a lasting emotional relationship.
  2. Know who you are after: Next is in defining your “type’’ as a brand (as it happens in human relationships). A brand cannot be everything to everybody. The customer persona has to be defined in terms of attitudes, interests and opinions. A clear understanding of the customer type will define how well the brand can meet such a customer’s needs.
  3. Stay in touch: Like in all relationships, communication is critical to understanding. How often do you talk to your customers? This is not just about frequency of communication, clarity also has a role. So in other words, do your customers clearly understand the purpose of your communication? Can they relate to it?  Does it inspire them enough to stay in love with your brand?
  4. Keep your word: Don’t make promises you won’t be able to fulfil because you want your customers to feel good. Integrity is non-negotiable. You must consistently keep your word and make good your promises.
  5. Don’t just take, give back too: It’s not just about getting the customer’s patronage. At some point, the brand will have to give back. This giving could be in terms of positive experiences, quality service or promos. A good brand/customer relationship is 2-way (mutual, win-win).
  6. Refresh the love: Finally, this is where most brands miss the point. The customer is won, the relationship has so far blossomed then all of a sudden, the customer is taken for granted. He/She no longer matters and feedback isn’t considered necessary. Brands need to leave the “stale valley” and try something different. Your customer is dynamic so why stay stagnant? For some brands, the way to keep the love alive could be a change of colour, an innovation, a line extension, rebranding, new promotional materials, a fresh campaign…just anything to stay relevant and fresh to your audience.

So back to my question…can I literally “date” a brand, can I “befriend” a brand, can a brand be my “Bae”  “Boo” or “Bestie”?

The answer? Absolutely!