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Lovemarks – great idea or just an agency business development tool?

Lovemarks_effect Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi worldwide, has a new book out and he’s been plugging it on Ad Age. The Lovemarks Effect picks up where the first Lovemarks tome left off, and continues to champion his philosophy that brands need to develop emotional connections with their audiences to lift them out of the mire. Check out the interview with Jonah Bloom, Editor of Ad Age here (subscription needed).

In it, (shock horror) it’s revealed that Lovemarks was developed not only as a branding philosophy but as a positioning, a new business development tool, for Robert’s agency (no, really?). It’s reportedly had some success on this last count, with JC Penny publicly attributing Saatchi’s win of their account to it, but some have responded to Kevin’s theory with the thought that this is what brands have always tried to do.

Either way, it’s built a certain momentum. Check out the website, and how many people from all round the world have nominated their own lovemarks. It’s a wide-ranging, if a little disparate, collection of brands.

What I like about it is that at its heart is a recognition of the importance of emotional connection. Its true that market pressures have often meant that the level of brand differentiation is low and product life cycles are short. Most brands are respected, but that is no longer enough. Functional excellence, clear benefits and a quality performance are all great attributes but are now an expected minimum. These are qualities driven by the head but to paraphrase Kevin, great marketing is about emotion and empathy, seduction and dreams.

Ad recall is of-course much stronger amongst advertising which touches the emotion rather than the rational. In an age of ubiquity, consumers will default to those brands which have successfully built a relationship with them.

Brands which are remarkable, ideas which are contagious, stand out. Those which have built on this respect to create emotional connections will create real long-term value. This is the ground where the future will be won and lost.

Is it possible to make people ‘love’ brands in low interest categories? Howabout, say, tissues? To see an example of a brand trying to achieve this connection, check out the new Kleenex campaign here 

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