It was love at first sight. At first glance, your heart seemed to beat a little faster than usual. It was attractive and unique, and eventually the thought of it embedded itself into your memory and heart. After the first contact, you desired to experience it again.
Every nuance and detail was familiar and attractive… even the voice sounded like it was speaking directly to you. Before long, you started to share the excitement of your special new infatuation with others. Do you remember?
Ah, young brand love.
It’s a truly magical experience, falling in love with a brand. And it all starts with that first impression, with our eyes. Brands are first introduced in the realm of design.
Sometimes such love starts young, since visual recognition functions develop as early as two months old in infants, starting with facial recognition. Then, we start to make choices. Before we reach two years old, we make choices because it empowers our imagination and perception of self.
As adults, humans perform decision making on a daily basis, but is influenced by a number of biases. Branding can help eliminate future cognitive biases once a decision is made. The process of making a choice happens on a deep level, beyond simple functional need. That’s why brand love is essential to help that add value to those decisions.
How does brand love add value to a company? It builds lifetime customer value.
Brand love is a very strong emotion. Such loyalty can cut through the marketing noise. People in love tend to view the brand as positive and tend to ignore other choices. If you love Apple Computer, there’s little chance you’ll be using a PC computer anytime soon. And, you’ll also assume that all Apple products are awesome, now and in the future.
Brand love supports self-presentation and safety. Brands create community. It satisfies the human need for belonging to and identifying ourselves within a group. It also inspires our need to share our value to the group. I suppose this would be important to define if you’re a Democrat or Republican, Celtics or Lakers fan, or even a gang member of the Crips or the Bloods. To satisfy such a market, a brand must appease with visual aspects and messages that are highly desirable to the group.
Finally, brand love serves (sometimes contradictorily) our need for intimacy, respect, individuality and sense of self. Brands can help people define themselves, in their own way. Individuals tend to identify with the personality aspects of the brand, and aspire to being seen as someone worthy because of the consumption of that brand. Take a look around you and see if you can interpret the personalities of those around you are by the clothes they wear, the soda they drink and the cars they drive. It would not be a true interpretation, but rather you’d be using the language of brands to help make those judgements.
I’ve always thought this brand love stuff was more scientific than it needed to be. We’re in the design realm, so we get to create the spark that leads to the lifetime of love. Brand design is much like matchmaking. We help companies find their essence and advise them on how to present themselves to find their potential soul mates.
Brand love is best enjoyed when it’s mutual. Fans love their brands, and brands love fans right back by nurturing it with campaigns and promotions. It’s those intimate, emotional connections are part of the brand building and love strategy. And it’s the beginning of a very happy relationship.