Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tractors, Chocolate, Passion and Lovemarks

When we started the Lovemarks site, we resolved it would be about people; the voices of people who were willing to stand up and talk about the brands, products and services they loved. They owned Lovemarks and so they were the ones who had to also own This idea has paid off big time. Every day we get nominations for Lovemarks from all parts of the world, and every day we learn something about people and what they love.

Something I often hear is, “Sure people love Apple and Cartier, but what about stuff that isn’t in the luxury goods market?” Fair question. So how about tractors?

"Growing up in John Deere country, you become intimately aware of why this brand is so much more than a brand. It’s reliability. It’s American Dreams. It’s a color. It’s a symbol of spring and autumn. Owners of their tractors and combines seem to trade their typically stoic persona for a slight giddiness when they speak about their machinery - whether it's decades old or brand new." From mentalWidgets in the United States in October. reveals the anguish people feel if their Lovemark is not on the shelf. Now that’s a metric of engagement that should be put straight into marketing textbooks. Here’s Paola from Mexico.

"I love Cadbury chocolates! Ever since by chance I tried one, I adore them! The problem is that I live in Mexico and they aren't always available, and for a while the supermarket, when you could find them, withdrew them from the market, no idea why… but I almost had a heart attack. I kept looking for them every time I visited the supermarket, but without luck, until one day I found them again! Months later my favorite chocolates were back on sale!! I swear I hugged the rack they were in. I missed them so much. Nothing makes me feel as good as a Cadbury." can be a valuable tool for any marketer. When you really listen to the authentic voices of people who want to share what matters to them, you can get all the marketing lessons you need, and more. Even better, along with this learning you get to experience the dreams, passions and stories of the people who have the power to transform your brands into Lovemarks. It doesn’t get better than that.


Susan Plunkett said...

When I talk about goods not in the luxury market - you know, maybe at the end of the day they (what I am referring to) and Lovemarks are largely mutually exclusive.

Kevin, a few years ago I was in a store and it kind of broke my heart to see an elderly couple with a little purse trying to eek out what they had to buy an array of Christmas gifts for grandchildren. NO family or person should go through that for this holiday.

But, these two had to locate items to fit in with their purse rather than going out with money with a clear intention to buy 'D' product or brand or even 'X' gift. Where is the mystery, sensuality and intimacy here Kevin? I see poignancy and sadness and potentially empty stomachs because those two may have skimped meals to spend that money.

Non luxury items may be luxuries to poorer people. Think Maja or Tweed perfume (at best) or items along those lines you can pick up in a chemist or in a cheaper discount store. Think perhaps Bonds t-shirts (again at best) rather than designer label. Think plastic containers in Woolworths or KMart rather than Tupperware. Think $5 shorts on sale or in discount stores or from factory outlets. I met someone on the street here recently who told me everything they had on came from factory outlets.

What I've been asking you re the elderly couple and the sort of items I'm listing is this - is there any mystery, intimacy and sensuality attached to this sort of shopping or is it 'needs must'. If the qualities don't exist can they exist? Does it even matter to poorer people?

But the pivotal point is this. If there is no ISM for poorer people then there is a whole community of people for whom Lovemarks and related concepts have no real meaning or relation or value and I am suggesting that marketers are potentially NOT listening at all if they decide to use Lovemarks and who can afford them (in the main) as the principle tool from which to understand the populace. There is only so much star gazing some people can bear.

If you are suggesting that everyone deserves the experience whether they spend $2 or $2K then that is different and I would like to hear your thoughts on how a $2 shop might create the experience you promote.

(I love tractors by the way and used to know how to use one but they're an expensive item.)

Whilst I support many aspects of Lovemarks (and agree they are completely applicable to other levels of society) elements of my own experience of the site are fraught with disappointment and long periods of waiting. I've not got the attention promised on the site. You don't get emails as the site tells you you will. Hasn't the meeting of promises or guarantees been an element of your promotion of quality interaction in previous topics? Half the excitement for some is indeed the genuine passion as I've had for my noms, but it's also seeing your publication go up. I can't even get excited at the potential of winning one of the offered monthly prizes given only one of my noms was put up in time for that.

I won't continue to critique this because that draws a continually negative note in the topics. I've thoroughly enjoyed going on your ride for a few months Kevin however there does come a time when you need the other to relate to you and your circumstances also otherwise there is no true mutuality or connection.

Piotr Jakubowski said...

I could definitely relate to both John Deere and Cadbury. I've been attending college in Deere country, and it's fascinating to hear the passion with which people talk about these products. To you and me it's just a tractor, to them it's something else. On top of everything there's pride, that the best tractors in the world come from their backyard.

I remember growing up in Asia with no access to one of my favorite wafer bars, Prince Polo, available in Poland. My family would always bring back food from our visits, and a box of these wafers was always in the mix. I would have to ration these for 6 month periods in order to enjoy them through the course of the year. Once in a while, I would cheat myself and have two :)

If you could line up all of the world's candy/chocolate/wafer bars in the world, there's only one I would choose.

Susan Plunkett said...

On chocolate et al Piotr I think many people long for products from distant sources. I know US folks who badger my son to bring them Violet Crumble bars and Tim Tams. My son orders a particular chocolate from San Francisco that has become a twice yearly treat.

As to the tractors, my point was obviously a different one but this again comes down to cultural difference. I have lived almost half my life on the land or in rural cities and the older cow cockies or farmers just don't rave on about product. I even raised this with my mother who many moons ago was a shearer's cook and she agreed. Our folk just don't do this. It's much more of a US way of being than Australian.