Rethinking Brand Love: The Reality Behind Consumer Affection
Admit it, people, consumers don't think too much about your brand.
For decades, the concept of 'brand love' has been debated in marketing books—an ideal that many, including myself, have pursued, studied, and championed. But as the years have passed, my unwavering belief in the notion that consumers could hold deep affection for brands—similar to their love for their families, pets, or favorite haunts—has begun to dissapear. The harsh truth? Your brand of toilet paper or detergent is unlikely to spark the kind of love reserved for life's true passions.
Yet, the quest for brand love remains a key point for many in our industry, championed as the apex of brand equity. The Marketoonist, a marketing cartoon artist I highly recommend, once captured this paradox with typical wit, reminding us of the gap between marketing ideals and consumer realities.
Inside the Consumer's Mind: Debunking Brand Love
What really goes on in the minds of consumers when faced with the idea of brand love? When bombarded with brand messages, they react emotionally, pay attention or tune out, and ultimately form connections. However, it's a stretch to imagine someone replacing their personal passions with an ardent love for, say, the Hertz rental car service.
In truth, brands serve as lighthouses of trust across a sea of choices, a familiar presence in a rotating cast of considerations influenced by performance, visibility, and reputation. This is the reality of consumer-brand relationships—a far cry from the romanticized notion of brand love.
Crafting Resonant Memory Structures
The real magic of advertising isn't to conjure brand love but to reinforce the memory structures that tie consumers to brands. These structures resonate at the point of sale, often guiding decisions in ways that are more instinctual than analytical.
The goal? To subtly influence these decisions, to ensure that when a consumer reaches for a product, it's your brand that comes to hand. This is done not through a grand declaration of love, but through the silent power of familiar and trusted memory cues.
A Moment of Reflection
So, when was the last time you considered your brand as larger than life? It's a compelling thought but one that might need revisiting. In a world where authenticity and trustworthiness are increasingly valued over lofty ideals of brand love, perhaps it's time we recalibrate our expectations and strategies.