Thursday, June 16, 2011

Familiar Faces

Chances are when you’re wandering around your local store doing your weekly grocery shop there are brands you gravitate to. Without a second thought your trolley fills with brands that have a familiar spot in your cupboards at home. And you feel happy about that – happier than if you’d actually bought the exact same products under a different label, because these are the brands that mean something more to you. They fire positive emotions that inspire loyalty. Some may even be Lovemarks.

BBC food journalist Alex Riley recently dug deep into the emotional connection we have with our favorite food brands (check out Alex’s blog here). With a simple experiment he confirmed what we’ve known for some time – if you love the brand, the product actually tastes better. Effectively, your mind has seasoned it with love.

He then sought the help of Professor Gemma Calvert of Neurosense – a research group in the UK – to see just how close to our hearts our most cherished brands are. Using MRI technology, the pair mapped a volunteer’s brain’s reactions to two different sets of images – one of his loved ones, the other of familiar brands. The results showed the same area of the brain lighting up for both sets of images – the region associated with happiness. The reactions mirrored right down to the brain area associated with facial recognition.

It’s another line under Lovemarks and the power of emotion, science affirming what the heart knows is true and market leaders build sustainable premiums on. The brands that bring us the greatest joy are like calling home, meeting a friend or turning through the pages of a photo album. In at least some way, Lovemarks are part of the family.

1 comment:

Rajiv said...

Hi Kevin,
You bring in an interesting scientific angel in your blog to emphasise how these Lovemarks are part of our family. This derivation perhaps has its roots in the philosophy of “Loyalty beyond reason” which underpins the concept - Lovemarks. In my opinion, here the underlying assumption is that this “loyalty beyond reason” cannot vary just as it doesn’t vary within the family members despite the ups and downs. And yet we see one brand taking over others’ loyal customers by providing something new and exciting. For example, Orkut gained huge popularity only until Facebook literally stole away its subscribers – including me. I was using Orkut almost as frequently as I use Facebook now. And I do not see much of functional difference between the two as far as my usage is concerned. Yet, I have almost stopped using Orkut whereas I use facebook daily.
The question then arises whether Lovemarks can sustain the competition of VUCA world that you speak of? The answer perhaps lies in knowing whether these brands can consistently give value back to their customers better than the competition. S & S may dream of making brands the Lovemarks, but if the brands fail to come up with customer value proposition that is better than the competition, customers won’t stay longer. It is interesting to know whether S & S invests time in motivating its client brands to come up with customer value proposition better than the competition. Because that may ensure the longevity of brands in order to attract loyalty of customers beyond reason.