Kevin Roberts – author of the book Lovemarks – has put the concept of 'brand love' on the map in marketing. Profitable brands are not just brands; no, these are brands with which consumers have a genuine love affair. But what does this mean now? For example, can brand love be compared with the love between people, or is this comparison wrong? Three researchers have taken the trouble to delve further into this phenomenon.
EURIB describes their findings. Love makes blind. Not only the love between people but also the 'love' of a consumer for a brand. Try talking critically about his or her brand with an Apple adept or a Harley owner. There is a good chance that such a conversation will come to nothing. Research shows that brand love ensures that consumers become more loyal to the brand in question, that they are willing to pay more for it and that they are also more willing to forgive these brands if something goes wrong. Despite this knowledge, we still don't know exactly what brand love means and how you can measure it.
The researchers Batra, Ahuvia, and Bagozzi doubt whether brand love is based on the same principles as love between persons. According to them, we do not yet know what brand love is and what it is influenced by. To answer this question, they conducted three studies. Two studies examined how people perceive love for things other than people and how they experience brand love. These investigations were conducted using in-depth interviews, which lasted from half an hour to four hours. Many factors of brand love emerged from these two studies. A third study was then conducted to develop a conceptual model. The result is a model that includes the seven most important factors from which brand love is built.
The studies show that consumers say that a love brand should, in any case, be of high quality. Since quality is subjective, you should state that the quality of the product should not lead to disappointment. Pursuing superior quality is probably not necessary to become a love brand. Nearly 90 percent of the surveyed respondents indicated that they experience a feeling of love for one or more brands. The researchers eventually identified the following seven components of brand love.
Congruence of own identity and brand identity
A love brand says something about who you are (current self-identity), whom you want to be (desired self-identity), gives meaning to life and gives a sense of an intrinsic reward.
Consumers are willing to invest time and money for their love brand, they desire to use the brand, and this behaviour (investing and using) has been exhibited over a more extended period.
Positive Emotional Bond
With their love brand, consumers experience an intuitive 'fit' in the form of a friendly relationship that generates positive feelings.
Consumers believe that they will use their love brand for a more extended period and that it will be part of their lives.
Fear of missing a brand
With love brands, the feeling of indispensability plays a significant role; consumers should not think about losing their favourite brand.
Positive Valence of Love Brands
Love brands evoke relatively strong positive feelings among consumers.
Strength of attitude
Consumers regularly think about their love brand and experience few reasons to doubt their feelings.
Batra, Ahuvia, and Bagozzi also named three consequences of brand love:
- A higher degree of brand loyalty
- Positive word-of-mouth
- Refuting negative stories from others. That explains why Apple adepts don't want to hear negative stories about "their" brand
How do you build a love brand?
The researchers note that consumers can act based on selflessness (or altruistic behaviour) in interpersonal love. This would hardly be the case with brands; consumers mainly want to derive something from the brand. Although many respondents indicate that they love at least one brand, these are likely a small set of authentic love brands (such as Apple, Harley-Davidson, Nespresso, and Nike). The model of Batra, Ahuvi, and Bagozzi provides insight into how we can determine brand love, but the question is, of course, how you can manage these seven factors. The researchers give several examples at the end of their article. For example, the attractive design could contribute to the passion-driven factors, and marketing communications could focus on the intrinsic needs of consumers. Emphasising authenticity can contribute to a positive emotional connection, and establishing a brand as a valuable and reliable source of information can contribute to the perceived indispensability of the brand. Brand communities can, for example, contribute to the long-term relationship of consumers with the brand.
About the author
Based in Odesa, Ukraine, Anastasiia Shtankova is a trilingual (English, Russian, Ukrainian) graduate of the Sukhomlinsky Mykolayiv National University. For as long as she can remember, Nastya has had a passion for writing. As the content manager for Finance4Learning, she manages to combine business with the pleasure of writing. She is responsible for generating, curating and marketing content relevant to the company’s target audiences.
Finance4Learning is a Benelux-based provider of student finance helping individuals realise ambitions and educators drive sales. Finance4Learning typically finances students following upskilling or reskilling courses in e.g. Business Analytics, CyberSecurity, Data Science, Digital Marketing, Growth Hacking, Leadership, UX/UI Design and Web Development. Courses are often provided in a bootcamp format. Finance4Learning is backed by two very reputable organisations - Banco Santander (no. 4 in the world) and the European Investment Fund - and provides access to a €50 million learning & development fund on an exclusive basis.