Branding Why peop­le love brands

Whe­ther we asso­cia­te posi­ti­ve or nega­ti­ve things with a com­pa­ny depends not only on its products/​services and our per­so­nal expe­ri­ence. Eva­lua­tions and (purcha­sing) decisi­ons are much more uncon­scious and emo­tio­nal than ratio­nal. Why this is the case, what signi­fi­can­ce brand love has today and what this means for your employ­er bran­ding, you can read here - com­pact and easy to com­pre­hend.

Branding February 14, 2024 Pascal Jodocy 6 min

I love my Brand – but why?

Brand love is more than just brand awa­reness. When I love a brand, I feel emo­tio­nal­ly drawn to it, pre­fer it to others, and remain loy­al to it for a long time - even when the­re may have been bet­ter offers for a long time. This means that true brand love is always asso­cia­ted with dif­fe­ren­tia­ti­on from other brands: If you’­ve been buy­ing Ford for a long time, then Audi may no lon­ger be of inte­rest to me. Once you’­ve found your favou­rite pair of Ger­man-made san­dals, you’­re unli­kely to try others. And if you love IKEA, you won’t go to Seg­mül­ler.

Accord­ing to mar­ke­ting expert Ste­fa­ni Vog­ler, brand love can be defi­ned as fol­lows:

  • You know the brand of your heart very well. Not just the pro­duct ran­ge. You also know some­thing about the com­pa­ny behind it, the histo­ry behind its decisi­ons, its values and so on.
  • You are open about your love for the brand and recom­mend it to others.
  • You choo­se pro­ducts from that brand time and time again, without necessa­ri­ly see­king fur­ther infor­ma­ti­on, sim­ply becau­se they belong to that brand.

Put sim­ply, brand love can ari­se becau­se purcha­se decisi­ons are often dri­ven by a sub­con­scious per­cei­ved need that goes bey­ond the pure inten­ded use. For examp­le, when I choo­se brand XY, I sub­con­scious­ly hope to gain social reco­gni­ti­on or free­dom. This inherent adver­ti­sing pro­mi­se is the dri­ving for­ce behind the deve­lo­p­ment of brand love.

Love brands - what they are and why they are so rele­vant

Love brands, as defi­ned by aut­hor and Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts, are asso­cia­ted with a cer­tain mys­tique. Big names such as Nike, LEGO and BMW all have mar­ke­ting stra­te­gies that focus on crea­ting las­ting emo­tio­nal con­nec­tions. For examp­le, through

  • a strong CI in terms of design, tona­li­ty, etc. that empha­si­ses aes­the­tics over form
  • a clear image that is embo­di­ed (e.g. Nike: inno­va­ti­ve, bound­less, indi­vi­du­al)
  • an under­ly­ing ran­ge of fee­lings that should be spe­ci­fi­cal­ly addres­sed (e.g. BMW - free­dom, inde­pen­dence)
  • a com­mu­ni­ty of pas­sio­na­te brand ambassa­dors who publicly share and grow the brand
  • authen­ti­ci­ty and cohe­rence: Love brands remain true to them­sel­ves, rather than chan­ging with the wind.

True love brands the­re­fo­re have a strong sym­bo­lism and use gra­phic exper­ti­se and good sto­ry­tel­ling to dri­ve this for­ward - usual­ly very con­sist­ent­ly in one direc­tion. Of cour­se, the image of big brands chan­ges over time - but wit­hin a frame­work that is still credi­ble and allows for pola­ri­sa­ti­on. Love brands don’t want to plea­se ever­yo­ne, just a few - but they want to do it pas­sio­na­te­ly well.

Why is this more important than ever? Becau­se qua­li­ty alo­ne is not enough for sup­pliers to sur­vi­ve in the sea of choice. Con­su­mers are over­whel­med by the sheer volu­me of pro­ducts and adver­ti­sing. Ins­tead of con­stant­ly weig­hing up which brand is most likely to meet my purcha­sing needs, I pre­fer to trust the brand I alrea­dy know - and which has con­vin­ced others befo­re me. This is ano­t­her rea­son why love brands are so suc­cess­ful today: The value pro­po­si­ti­on fac­tor is play­ing an incre­a­singly important role in com­pe­ti­ti­on. Sus­taina­bi­li­ty, social com­mit­ment and open­ness are the top prio­ri­ties for many con­su­mers when it comes to choo­sing a pro­duct. Pri­ce plays a secon­da­ry role as a decisi­on cri­ter­ion. What mat­ters is whe­ther I can iden­ti­fy with a brand - and whe­ther I feel well repre­sen­ted when I show/​wear/​use it.

Brand love does­n’t necessa­ri­ly last fore­ver

Of cour­se, like any rela­ti­ons­hip, brand love has a half-life: it can fade, wea­ken and fla­re up again. But the deeper the love, the lon­ger it tends to last. And that depth is lar­ge­ly deter­mi­ned by two things: our uncon­scious indi­vi­du­al pre­fe­ren­ces and the qua­li­ty of the bran­d’s mar­ke­ting.

The pre­re­qui­si­te for this is that the brand deli­vers what it pro­mi­ses in the long term. It is true that the more I feel con­nec­ted to a brand I love, the more I for­gi­ve” it. But of cour­se the­re are limits to my pati­ence: If the pri­ces rise exor­bi­tant­ly or the brand repeated­ly com­mits gross image vio­la­ti­ons, then at some point it has mes­sed up - love or no love.

And then some­thing can hap­pen that also hap­pens in inter­per­so­nal rela­ti­ons­hips: love turns into strong rejec­tion. Once-satis­fied cus­to­mers are then the ones who do the most dama­ge to the brand, becau­se they vehe­ment­ly advi­se against it.

What does this mean for your employ­er brand?

The mecha­nisms of Love Brands, which can be bought, can also be app­lied to other brands. For examp­le, employ­er brands. At a time when things like com­mit­ment, social values and crea­ti­ve deve­lo­p­ment are beco­m­ing incre­a­singly important in the choice of employ­er, com­pa­nies also need to work more with emo­ti­on and posi­tio­ning than with pure­ly ratio­nal bene­fits such as holi­days and sala­ry.

This app­lies not only to recruit­ment, but perhaps even more so to reten­ti­on. Of cour­se, if you want your employees to stay with your com­pa­ny, you need good con­di­ti­ons. But tha­t’s not enough. Peop­le want to work for brands they can iden­ti­fy with and trust - they love brands. And if your com­pa­ny beco­mes such a brand - not only for cus­to­mers, but also for employees - you will not only have more pro­duc­ti­ve teams, but also peop­le who belie­ve in their work - and are hap­py to show it to the out­side world, thus attrac­ting new employees and secu­ring new good spe­cia­lists.

Strong brands learn - does yours?

A gre­at employ­er brand inclu­des good working con­di­ti­ons, authen­tic values - and an open­ness and wil­ling­ness to deve­lop. If you want to offer your employees lear­ning pro­gram­mes that they love, that deli­ver real lear­ning out­co­mes, and that help your orga­ni­sa­ti­on beco­me an employ­er brand with sub­s­tance, then let’s talk. We would be hap­py to dis­cuss your opti­ons with you over a digi­tal cof­fee, free of char­ge and without obli­ga­ti­on!

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