Have you ever lived a love story with a brand? The one that takes your heart away makes you do everything for the beloved brand, admire everything that its marketing does, defend it against everything and everyone.
That is what happens when consumers fall in love with a love brand.
That is the way we call brands that transcend their commercial role. They become part of the life and personality of the consumers who identify themselves with what brands are and what they do.
They no longer make rational choices for either product. A love story, after all, has little rationality, doesn’t it?
But love also has a lot of reciprocity. The union only thrives as long as one loves the other. So, if the consumer loves a brand, they expect it to also reciprocate with actions that nurture this relationship.
Shall we learn what a love brand is and what makes people love a brand to the point of being blind to competitors?
Let’s understand this feeling together!
A love brand is a brand that is loved by consumers and manages to create emotional bonds with them. They do it by transcending the traditional relationship that exists between company and customer.
A love brand is not just a company, a store, a product — it’s a representation of the values and beliefs with which the consumer identifies. Therefore, fans incorporate the brand into their personality and lifestyle.
This connection is so strong that they no longer have eyes for competitors and start to defend the brand tooth and nail.
Think of Harley Davidson, an emblematic example of a love brand. Those who buy a Harley don’t buy a motorcycle — they buy adventure and freedom on two wheels.
Fans may not be even your customers (as is often the case with love brands), but they like to show off and defend the brand. Some even tattoo it on their bodies! It’s a lot of love, isn’t it?
Branding generates this feeling. Brand management defines which image and positioning it wants to add to the consumers’ minds. With this definition, the brand consolidates its identity and achieves identification with people.
These are the ingredients to start a love story between the brand and the consumers who identify with it.
But this relationship depends on other ingredients to thrive. Brands that are loved must nurture the relationship with the consumer so they continue to realize the value of this relationship for their life.
That’s where marketing comes into play, with strategies that strengthen bonds, value fans and bring the brand closer to consumers.
Love is beautiful — but in the end, brands really want to do business. So how can consumers’ love for your brand make your business grow, increase sales, and have more opportunities?
Now, see the main benefits of being a love brand.
Love brands do not succumb to competition. When the consumer creates an emotional relationship with a brand, it’s not simple to take them to a competitor.
The ties are strong. The consumer is always around, informed about the brand’s news, and willing to return at any time. Loyalty to the brand even forgives one or two mistakes in the name of the relationship.
They say that love makes people blind. That explains why the love for a brand makes consumers disregard the price of products.
For them, the feeling that the relationship evokes is more important than that. Therefore, love brands can practice higher prices than their competitors and won’t stop selling to their fans because of that.
Beloved brands are protected by their fans. They become true advocates whenever anyone dares to speak ill of their loved brand, especially in social media.
In times of brand crisis, they help to hold criticism and preserve its image.
Fans not only defend their beloved brand but also promote it on their networks. They like to talk about it, discuss its benefits, show it off in their daily lives, and mention their actions.
They want to see the brand’s success and contribute to its growth!
Professionals want to be part of building brands that are loved, successful and have a purpose with which they identify. For this reason, love brands tend to attract more qualified, motivated employees, but mainly in line with their culture.
Why do consumers love certain brands? What provokes this feeling? To understand this, let’s get a little into consumer psychology.
We generally think that our purchasing decisions are super-rational. We identify needs, analyze options, compare prices, read reviews, weigh pros and cons, and choose what to buy.
But the truth is that this decision is much more emotional than we think.
Purchases are much more influenced by perceptions and sensations than by functional attributes. Gerald Zaltman, a Harvard professor, says that 95% of purchase decision-making happens in the subconscious.
So, even without realizing it, people connect to certain brands because they represent what they believe, what they want to express, or how they want to feel. Notice how the brands you use or admire say a lot about your personality.
When consumers identify with a brand, they start to trust it, what it says and what it sells. Without eyes for competitors, the purchase decision is easy.
There is also an unconscious escape for the excess of options — the paradox of choice, which overloads the mind and can paralyze the consumer.
Brands, in turn, already know very well how consumer behavior works. Therefore, branding explores this potential for connection between brand and consumer by defining a clear identity and conveying its essence in marketing strategies. Thus, bonds tend to strengthen.
Talkwalker, social media analytics and monitoring platform, conducted a study to identify the world’s most loved brands in 2020.
To this end, the company monitored conversations about 700 brands on social media, blogs, news sites, forums, and other online channels.
The focus of the analysis, however, was not the volume of brand mentions. What mattered was to identify which ones engaged more, inspired good feelings, were less criticized, or that people simply said they loved.
The survey also included global and local brands. After all, the most loved brands do not necessarily need to be known worldwide. People can love the neighborhood bakery, the city’s traditional restaurant, and a multinational giant at the same time.
Do you want to know what are the most loved brands in the world? The top 10 looks like this:
LEGO is the most loved brand in the world. A brand with a clear mission, a childhood taste, and is light and fun has everything to win people’s hearts.
Four Seasons and Singapore Airlines follow. In the next topic, we will understand your main strategies for being at the top of the ranking.
It’s also interesting to analyze the different segments that appear in the list. In the top 50, fashion and beauty, food, and hospitality brands stood out. They are more “emotional” niches, which are easier to engage.
But note that the pharmaceutical and financial industries, generally more serious, also appear on the list. No brand cannot be loved!
Now, let’s understand the main strategies that the most loved brands in the world use to inspire brand love.
Now, let’s analyze the main strategies of those brands to reach the top of the world ranking of love brands.
To be loved, a brand needs to work on its strategic planning: defining mission, vision, and values that guide all of its strategies. Those are the pillars of branding, which support a love brand.
Simon Sinek says that the most successful brands are those who know why they exist, not exactly what they sell.
From there, brands assume a personality as if they were a person. It’s with this personality that consumers will identify themselves.
According to a study published in HBR, 64% of consumers said that the values they share with brands are the main reason for relating to them.
See how LEGO, the most loved brand in the world, has clear definitions of who the brand is and what its values and motivations are.
Today’s consumers expect brands to make social and environmental commitments, not just sell products. When this happens, good initiatives are recognized and connect people.
But we are not talking about doing charity once a year. Social responsibility must be in the essence of the brand, in its fundamental values, in its mission.
Tiger Beer, which is the 8th most loved brand in the world in 2020, knows how to do that. The Singapore beer brand understands that tigers are not just in their name or packaging — they are their biggest cause.
Therefore, Tiger Beer develops a series of campaigns in defense of the tiger’s life and the fight against these animals hunting.
Four Seasons, the global brand of hotels and resorts, is in 2nd place in the ranking and also has a good example. Even though it’s in one of the sectors most affected by the Coronavirus crisis, the brand offered its hotels to healthcare professionals free of charge.
Do you know a way to touch people’s hearts? Make them remember the good old days, “how happy we were and didn’t know,” what life was like a few years ago…
Explore nostalgia marketing, which can connect with people’s emotions by looking back to the past. It’s by touching good old memories that the brand associates with positive feelings and encourages conversations between people.
After all, who doesn’t like to talk about funny or exciting moments in their lives?
LEGO does this all the time — nostalgia is at its core! The brand’s products and communication bring the fun, creativity, and imagination we have as children.
You don’t have to be a child to relate to the brand as it was made for builders of all ages!
On the LEGO Ideas website, the brand encourages its customers to create and share their creations. See how cool this project is!
Brands can represent a lifestyle. The Harley Davidson, which we mentioned at the beginning of the article, represents a style of adventure and freedom. Hering is another example and has a basic and casual lifestyle. Apple is creative and innovative.
So, every time people buy, use or relate to these brands, they want to demonstrate their lifestyle.
Among the most loved brands in the world, Four Seasons is a good example. The brand works a lot with aspirational marketing, with communication that demonstrates the luxurious, traveling, and carefree lifestyle that many people dream of having before the troubled routine they live.
Just look at the brand’s Instagram posts to keep dreaming!
The customer experience is directly associated with the connection they create with the brand. When you offer a differentiated experience to consumers, the brand is remembered. Not only when using the product but at all points of contact.
Singapore Airlines, in 3rd place in the ranking, specializes in this. The most awarded airline in the world has excellence in customer experience, emphasizing the meals served on board, the staff training focused on passenger satisfaction, and airport and connection options that bring convenience to the customer.
A love brand cannot stop in time. You must want to show that you understand the current consumer. That you know how to respond to their demands and you follow the world’s trends. In this way, you build the brand’s relevance with consumers.
Celebrity Cruises is a cruise brand and appears in 7th place in the ranking. Rather than posing as a distant and inaccessible luxury brand, Celebrity marks its position in current affairs and gets into people’s conversations.
From local initiatives that value the community to global projects that impact millions of people, the brand engages in topics such as sustainability, diversity, and gender identity.
The brand is proud to say that it has increased the number of female crew members from 3% to 22%, while the market average is an unbelievable 2%.
Love brands build communities on social media. They are less concerned with selling their products and more interested in showing their value to people.
They behave less like companies and more like friends with followers. Thus, you develop a content experience much closer to the consumer.
Giant Hypermarket, which appears in 4th place in the ranking, is a supermarket chain with more than 120 stores in Malaysia. It’s a traditional brand of the country, which already has a history with the local community.
So, one of its brand secrets is its hyper-localized social media strategy. Knowing local consumers, the brand creates content that talks to the community and delivers what people want.
Good news makes good impressions. Therefore, it’s worth investing in a good press office, which improves brand awareness and the brand’s perception by public opinion.
One of the best examples comes from Vertex Pharmaceuticals. A biopharmaceutical company in the ranking of the most loved brands in the world may seem unusual. But Vertex does not position itself as an industry — it’s a brand that changes people’s lives.
That became clear when health officials in the United States and the United Kingdom released the use of the company’s drugs for cystic fibrosis treatment in those countries. The news won the media and generated several positive mentions of the brand on social media.
Bimbo, in 6th place in the ranking of brands, also works well with its image in the media. The brand is one of Mexico’s main bakery industries and operates in 33 countries with a mission: to bring delicious and nutritious food to everyone.
During the Coronavirus crisis, the brand donated thousands of bread slices in all countries where it operates, such as Brazil.
A fandom around your brand is everything you would like to have. A fandom is a community of fans of a particular brand, which can be a band, a series, an event, and your business, of course!
They love brands unconditionally, they do everything for them, but the fandom’s difference is that they get together with other fans to talk about it and speculate on the news.
Of course, it’s difficult for a traditional brand to have a fandom. Burger King, GoPro, and Apple may have it. But the best examples are the entertainment and sports fandoms (movies, series, actors, bands, singers, games, players, football teams, etc.).
So, what you can do is associate your brand image with these fandoms. If they love brands unconditionally, part of that love goes to your brand too.
Voot, for example, is an Indian brand, which offers a video-on-demand service with more than 100 million active users. It works like Netflix — the difference is that content strategies are hyper-localized. Thus, the brand connects with fans of Indian programs, films, and actors who engage with their social media channels.
One way to connect with fandoms is to sponsor the teams, bands, events, and movements people love. Sport and entertainment, for example, stir many emotions and move legions of fans.
Your brand can benefit from this: a study showed that the greater the emotional connection with a football team, the more people connect with their sponsors.
Among the most loved brands in the world, Celebrity Cruises is a good example. The brand sponsored the Miami LGBTQ pride parade in 2017, an event loaded with meaning, emotion, and fun. They won the hearts of people involved by associating with the event and the movement in favor of diversity.
Working with digital influencers is a way of associating your brand with personalities that people love.
Content creators for YouTube, Instagram, and other social media channels are the new celebrities in the digital world. Influencers can shape behaviors and consumption habits because followers trust what they say. So, if your brand connects to them, you have a good chance of being favored by their public.
Container Store, in 9th place in the ranking, is a brand of storage and organization products. It may not look like a brand with the potential to be a love brand, but partnering with influencers helps a lot.
Professional organizers, in particular, help to show the brand value to their followers — making people’s lives easier.
Finally, love brands also usually work to love the brand from the inside. A Glassdoor study has already proved that happier and more motivated employees generate more satisfied customers.
Not only that: employees who love the brand they work for are also more willing to defend it. If you want to be a love brand, you also need to promote employees’ love for your brand.
See the example again from the Container Store. The brand has an internal culture focused on employee development and creating a growth environment for all stakeholders.
The purpose is to “build a business where everyone can prosper together.” It’s no coincidence that it was elected one of the 100 best companies to work for, in the list published by Fortune magazine.
Do you want to start adopting these strategies and become a brand loved by consumers? So, you need to have some metrics to measure the evolution of brand love. Only then will you know if you are achieving the results you want!
Check out the two indicators we suggest you use.
Just like the Talkwalker study, look at social media. You can find out what people are saying about your brand and what feelings are associated with your mentions.
A social media monitoring job identifies whether the mentions are positive, negative, or neutral according to the content and language used. Then, you can cross-check this analysis with your brand’s engagement rate, which is total engagement divided by all the mentions.
In the chart below, you can see the cross between the engagement rate and the average sentiment of each of the brands that participated in the Talkwalker study.
The downline shows a trend: the more brands gain engagement, the more the interactions are negative (possibly because growth attracts more critics).
The share of heart metric was not used in the study, but it’s also a way of measuring how much the consumers love your brand. This indicator shows the market share that loves your brand compared to competitors.
You may need to conduct a survey that asks consumers: “Among these brands, which one do you like the most?” to obtain this percentage.
The responses show the most loved brands in the market. It also indicates the participation of each one of them in the affective involvement of consumers. It’s an important indicator to compare your position with the competition.
Now you know the most loved brands in the world and the main strategies to become a love brand.
Note that it doesn’t happen overnight — building a brand and winning people’s hearts is a long-term job. But now you know the main steps for that so you can start!
It’s also important to know how to outline the strategies, from the diagnosis to the tactical plan. Take the opportunity to read about the Kernel Strategy, which shows how to create strategies and content that generate results.