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For class 03 in CED we were asked to read “Brand Loyalty Reloaded, 2015” by Kevin Roberts, the executive chairman at Saatchi & Saatchi and one of the world’s leading brand strategist. In conjunction with this article I also watched his TED Talk, which I highly recommend if you’re a branding buff. The article and his TED Talk resonated with me so I decided to share it as I though others may enjoy it and his perspective on branding. Roberts starts off by saying that the concept of traditional branding has changed. He says it’s not enough to be a recognizable brand and create brand loyalty. He discusses the significance of infusing business with love because today’s successful brands must tap into a customer’s emotional needs and wants, and should strive to create “movements of people”. This critical because “people can choose to block you, ignore you, scorn you, embrace you or applaud you… Brand managers no longer own ‘their brand’. Brands are owned by the people who love them.” I feel this is a new and refreshing perspective and reflective of the changing mindset of 21st century.

Society is evolving—and while there are many things dreadfully awry in the world and a few people (and certain political leaders) I would deem abhorrent, I do believe that for the most part, people’s mindsets are shifting in a positive direction. They are becoming more socially responsible and environmentally conscious, progressing towards the appreciation of an experience over a purchase, and embracing inclusion over exclusion. Consequently, a microcosm of this transformation, is the way we perceive and engage with a brand and part of this this change involves incorporating love into the business equation. To achieve this, there are four requirements: (1) get emotional (2) get connected (3) tell stories, and (4) care. Moreover, for brand to survive it must be: (1) intimate (2) visual (3) fast (4) participatory, and (5) inspirational. Roberts effectively summarizes these concepts by saying “the only thing you need to make a difference in this world is an idea. Ideas are the currency of today and you can change the world and you can do it overnight.” Being from a creative background, this statement affected me, as concepts are our legal tender. He goes on to say that progress comes from the crazies because they live on the edge—the bungie jumping snowboarder in me loves that!

However, the aforementioned information, is just the prologue before getting to the heart of the matter—the Lovemark. The term was coined by Roberts, who asserts that brands in the traditional sense have run out of steam and modern marketing is now about creating a ‘lovemark’ brand. So, what is a Lovemark? No, it’s not like a birthmark or anything tattoo related. A Lovemark is a brand that you cannot live without, a brand that engages emotionally with consumers and creates “Loyalty Beyond Reason”.

A Lovemark transcends expectations and connects not just with a person’s mind but also their heart. It’s about creating narratives and an emotional and intimate bond that you can’t live without—Ever! Brands have lost their momentum; they are no longer unique. The consumer is no longer overwhelmed by a brand’s product or service; what was once excited anticipation is now an expected assumption.

Roberts says we have shifted into “The Age of Now"; transforming from the attention economy to the participation economy. The “Now” is a time of collaboration, consideration, and ROI (no not that ROI, I am finished with accounting!)—Return on Involvement (way better, no math involved) and of course, Lovemarks. It’s about inspiration not information. Marketing is no longer about building and sustaining brands, it’s about creating movements. Brands are owned by brand managers, marketing managers and shareholders but Lovemarks are owned by the people who love them and by the people that can’t live without them. You can’t be rational to create a Lovemark—it’s about emotional thinking to create action and it’s about being irresistible not irreplaceable.

If you have known me long enough, you will undoubtedly know my Lovemark is the band U2. Yes, I am loyal beyond reason. I was introduced to their music when I was 12 and since then I have loved the band beyond reason. I have worn out tapes listening to their songs over and over, own every CD they have produced, downloaded all of their music on to my computer, and multiple U2 playlists on my iPhone. Their music became a soundtrack for every moment of my life—happy, sad, and everything else in between; every morning I wake up to Bono singing “It’s a Beautiful Day”. I have skipped classes to see them open their tour in Vancouver, flew to Dublin for 3 days to see them on my birthday (and then again the following night), bought VIP Passes, lined up for 8 hours in the blistering sun so I could be right in front of the stage, sat in RED Zone just so I could get the special collector’s ticket, which are now in my safety deposit box along with my wristbands, and spent more money on tickets then I will share with my reading audience. “Loyal beyond reason”—I feel like that phrase was coined just for me!

This is just my opinion (take it or leave it), you may think I’m crazy (that’s fine) or dislike their music (that’s blasphemous) but perhaps there is something or someone that you’re passionate about beyond reason. You can check out people’s Lovemarks at: Yes, U2 is there :D Is there a Lovemark that you cannot live without? A country? Canada is well loved and made the top ten list. A singer? Neil Diamond seems to be a popular Lovemark—who knew. Perhaps you love a particular food, Vegemite made the list (which makes me question people’s taste buds). Unfortunately, Donald Trump is even on the love list but he only has 32 hearts compared with the Pope John Paull II who has 978, thank God! If you’re a Guinness drinker, you’ll be happy to know it’s also well-loved—Dublin has great exports ;)

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