Can a company/brand create such powerful emotive connections to make customers love them? Your advertising agency will be quick to say yes. I am not sure. I can imagine a few scenarios that it happens but is is very uncommon. Marketers like to convince themselves that you can buy ‘love’ and that’s the ultimate goal for great marketing. What's that book name "Lovemark"? That's an example of advertisers drinking their own Kool-Aid. Yes, many customers can have a level of enthusiasm because we provide them with a great customer experience, is that love? That’s what I want to write about.
Neurologists suggest that the early stages of love are governed by parts of the brain that are used for goal-seeking and reward, and resembles obsessive-compulsive disorder. Such as the first time you look at an Apple iPhone, a Harley Street Bob, a Hermes Kelley, a Mercedes SL AMG and a Patek Philippe Calatrava.
Here's how our brain works, at the early stage of a romantic relationship sparks activity in dopamine-rich brain regions normally associated with motivation and reward. The intensity is proportion to the activity. Advertising doesn’t make them love your brand; they attract their attention and interest.
The part of our brain associated with emotion, the insular cortex and parts of the anterior cingulate cortex, are not activated until the more mature phases of a relationship. In the context of brand marketing, the emotive connections require consistence good customer experiences including the love and hate. Love happens as a result when the sum total of the interactions that a customer has with a company's products, people, and interfaces reach certain threshold. Starting from the moment when customers purchase a product to the moment when they unwrap the box and sharing their joy with their friends on Facebook.
Here's a myth. Love is not emotion, it is a strategic capability to gain happiness. And love by itself has no object. It is some invisible and unexplainable energy of consciousness sometimes we are not even aware of it. It is beyond form, yet inclusive of form. Love is a capability that can be developed, nurtured and learned. We develop this capability when we were very young. Over the years, we develop the ability to love and care for the other person(s) and sometimes even objects.
Emotion is a different animal. It is feelings (or reactions from our brain activity) that aroused as a result of stimuli. When you see something, you want to touch it, feel it and probably own it. Many people marry for the sake of convenience or benefits. The same way we are loyal to certain brands for the same reasons. Either because there is a lack of choice of simply the product category is of low involvement.
Sex, love and emotion are three different things. In an ideal world, they intersect at certain junction. Sex is not the single manifestation of love (although it can be one of them), regular purchase and consumption of a brand is not a manifestation of love for the same reason. Some people are always under the misconception that the manifestation of love is sex; the manifestation of loyalty is purchase frequency. Yes, it may be. But mostly not.
Take away for you for the weekend, emotion often gets us into trouble but we must recognize them as part of being human and accept them into our consciousness, where they need to be cared for and managed. And that cab be learned.
Have a great weekend and please share your thoughts.