Head of Strategy & Insights
Managing Director - Brand & Communication, Insights Division
Brand Love: Why it’s important and how to attain it in a fragmented landscape
Brand relationships exist and can be very powerful. As marketing professionals, we should focus on them if we want to build more value in the long term. MediaCom and Kantar have partnered to explore exactly what drives Brand Love, and what it means to brands and different categories.
The way we measure the value of brands at WPP depends on two pillars: a financial component that illustrates the brand’s ability to generate profits; and a consumer component that measures the ability of brand associations to predispose the consumer to buy. The digital revolution has given marketers the illusion of a complete measure of ROI. But this promise has not yet been achieved.
Kantar’s “Getting the Media Right” study, conducted in 2018 among 450 marketers, revealed that only 52 percent of advertisers are confident that their organization has the right balance between long-term and short-term brand building. Forty percent of marketers focus primarily on short-term sales as the indicator of advertising success. But in focusing on this measurement of ROI, many marketers are still missing the opportunity for real growth.
In this quest for long-term value, advertisers are trying to find their way with Brand Love. This is one of the key pillars of long-term value creation, as it gives a unique meaning to brands. So far, we have mainly measured the Brand Love intensity on a 10-point scale (I hate it/ I love it). This KPI is obviously useful, but it doesn’t inform marketers on the nature of the feeling consumers develop toward their brands. They may love brands, but how exactly?
This is a hot topic. We have received many briefs over the past few years asking us to work on Brand Love or Desirability. As such, we felt there was an urge to dig deeper. Together, MediaCom and Kantar have partnered to identify Brand Love drivers and develop a consumer segmentation based on the nature of love with brands. Here’s what we found.
What is Brand Love?
Defining love is not an easy task. Many have tried, from Freud to Haddaway, with no one truly succeeding in establishing a definitive description.
So, we thought talking about love for brands was maybe too strong. But what emerged from the interviews we conducted with consumers was interesting: they weren’t using the word love, but their emotions were similar or related to what we feel as human beings in our relationships.
Hence, we decided to focus on relationships and started exploring the most important ones that exist in our lives: the relationship we have with our parents, our lovers, our friends, our husbands/wives, our mentors and gods.
Once we identified these six relationship types, we asked French people which emotions they associate with each type of relationship. And boom—we had our ingredients to define each relationship for brands!
Brand relationships, it turns out, are as varied as human relationships. They can create different kinds of emotions and, depending on the relationship you have with your audience, you might not, as a brand, connect to the same emotions as others.
How do you leverage Brand Love to better define brand strategy and activation?
To better understand the different kinds of relationships brands could create with their audiences, we looked at two opposite categories: automotive and telco.
What emerged from the research is clear, and from a category point of view there are noticeable differences between the two: one was mainly dominated by romantic relationships while the other was driven by friendship.
But it was even more interesting to look at how each brand positioned itself among its competitors and the category in general. For instance, we focused our analysis on a mainstream brand strongly associated with the “friend” type of love. However, we realized premium brands in this category inspired more “sexual” types of love. It’s for this reason that the brand is not fully considered as a premium brand by consumers. We immediately identified the strategic direction for this brand: how to move from being a friend to being a lover.
New Era approach: this methodology creates three new angles of analysis for brands.
1. Type of love is important: What kind of love is your brand building with its consumers? Is it in line with your positioning and brand strategy? How many different types of love is your brand generating? How can you address all these different emotions?
2. Category and positioning are important, too: How do you compare to the category? Is there a difference between the love your consumers feel and what the overall category feels? Is your brand following the trend or is a shift needed to operate better or differently?
3. Media activations are cherry on the cake: which media decision tree works best with each type of love?
Relationships are powerful to create long term value. Watch this space.