How Much “Love” is Enough for a Brand?

How does a relationship with a brand grow? First, you get to know the brand. Then you try and perceive that the brand works great for the purpose. Then you start liking it, preferring it over other brands. Once you are convinced that this is the only brand which serves the purpose best, you start loving it. You don’t want any other brand except the one that crossed your mind. The brand gets your mind share, resulting in your purchase and market share.

But how much love is enough for a brand to survive? Love is scalable, at least in the world of branding! Imagine how this love translates when it comes to a new competing brand that serves similar purposes, almost in the same way as your most preferred brand does. Then you start liking, and ultimately giving a share of love to the new brand. You become a soft-core loyal, switching in between these two brands. Therefore, in my humble opinion, making your customers love your brand is not enough to survive in a hyper-competitive market today.

Thus we need to find out the next level of brand engagement. This could be called “living” the brand. Living the brand starts when you stop seeing the brand merely as a superior way of meeting your needs and start looking at how it integrates in “well and woes” of your life. For example, you might love a cookie brand because of its taste, but the brand owner starts promoting this cookie as a “smile maker” of kids to keep them happy. The secret is about to stop talking on superiority points, rather talk about how it fits in your life that you live everyday.

This “knowing-liking-loving-living” sequence is also important for internal customers, e.g., employees. Organizations must try their best to administer internal branding program that creates employees’ emotional attachment with the organization. It would ultimately result in internal brand evangelists, who would go a long way to spread the good word not because they are being paid for their jobs, but because they love and live the brand from their hearts. I have seen many customer service people at GP using Airtel numbers, as well as their GP numbers. While it is very common to have multiple SIMs these days, the foregoing example does not show that these executives are “living” the brand, even though they might “love” it. The same goes with Tata agent’s office in Dhaka. You will hardly find them using Tata brand cars! If you do not live your brand, how come you expect your customers to love and live it?

Now if you feel that you have a superior brand that customers love, think about taking your customers to the next level before it is too late.


About 1mmarketing

Working as Associate Professor, School of Business, United International University, Bangladesh; a North-American graduate, with doctoral studies from UUM, Malaysia; cherishing a wide-view of the world, with multiple interests in culture, people, traveling, and specifically marketing science. I have a colorful and diversified background with a blend of corporate experience, research, consulting, training, public speaking and teaching. I love to write about marketing issues that affect our lives, and talk about its direction that would promote the greatest human welfare.
This entry was posted in Branding and Communication, Hard Core Branding, Internal Branding, Strategic Marketing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How Much “Love” is Enough for a Brand?

  1. Adnan R. Amin says:

    Interesting proposition. Some thoughts and questions:
    Do you agree ‘living’ the brand, in previous instances, has often been reduced (or focused) into a brand ethos or philosophy? Because then, there’s always the risk that it will lose touch with functional advantages. In ANY market, there’ll be a segment that will prefer the functions (e.g. GP example you used). Given the consumers’ ADD – the fact remains ‘functions sell’. So, how do we handle that? Go for ultra-loyal niches? Oscillate brand communications? Or did you, by ‘living the brand’ – mean ‘usage of brand by employees’ (i.e. TATA people using TATA cars) only?

    • 1mmarketing says:

      Good questions! In my humble opinion, I would put the burden on brand execution when I see “living the brand” getting reduced to brand philosophy. I would prefer to put Harley-Davidson as an example that has shown what “living the brand” means. Of course, for low involvement products, functions sell, even though to a limited extent, living examples can be created. The trick is to determine whether the category that we are dealing with actually yield itself to an image paradigm where “living” the brand can be implemented to the greatest extent. I believe, “living” the brand itself is scalable. For GP example, I believe when it comes to data services, it might become a living example for most users. When it comes to voice services, “function” sells where Airtel might be the winner on price competition.

      On “living” the brand concept, I also pulled two fronts at one end, because one cannot be achieved sustainably without the other. So this is applicable both to external and internal customers. Thanks.

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