I recently read a piece in a local business magazine where some self-proclaimed brand expert was talking about “brand love” etc. I won’t name and shame, we’ve all got to make a living, but there’s a lot of this sort of stuff around. There’s also a lot of dog s**t around, but that doesn’t mean I want to step in it.
The expert thinking goes like this… apparently we (consumers) want to be friends with brands, have relationships with them, enjoy conversations with them and exhibit “brand love”. These marketing experts also drone on about “brand purpose” too. You know, that thing where brands cynically attach themselves to a cause, to show you just how much they really, really (really) care. Nothing wrong with caring… providing you’re sincere…
“A principle isn’t a principle until it costs you money.” – Bill Bernbach
But indulge me. Have you ever bought a product because of all the brand love you feel for it? Or, was relevance, quality and price really what you were buying? Before I hear someone at the back shout “but I bought an Apple computer and I absolutely love their brand, they’re so cool”, yes, you may love the brand, but what if the product was a piece of crap? Or cost ten times more than a Dell? Would all that brand love have still persuaded you to part with your hard-earned cash? (If you’re still saying yes, you might also be interested in my friend who has a million pounds stuck in an account in Belize, and just needs your bank details to allow them to move it and, here’s the good bit, is willing to go 50/50 with you).
“Money can’t buy me love” – Lennon & McCartney
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with wanting people to love your brand. But a marketing and communications plan geared towards achieving it is a folly. Brand love is a bi-product of offering a great product or service in the first place.
“We don’t get them to try our product by convincing them to love our brand. We get them to love our brand by convincing them to try our product.” – Bob Hoffman
Next time you’re listening to another marketing guru or brand expert telling you about the importance of brand love, how you should be “striving to forge meaningful relationships” and have a brand purpose, put yourself back in the customer’s shoes and think about how you behave when walking around the supermarket. How much are you looking for meaningful relationships? Or are you just looking for products you like, products that do the job, products that you can afford? If you’re really feeling crazy, maybe a bottle of wine with a nice label? Or some chocolate from that funny ad on the telly?
When you think about it, perhaps consumers simply want great products and great service. And if you can get that right, guess what? They’ll love you for it.