Romancing the Brand: How Brands Create Strong, Intimate Relationships with Consumers
January 2014, Jossey-Bass
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ROMANCING THE BRAND: How Brands Create Strong, Intimate Relationships with Consumers
"…Romancing the Brand is a reminder that passion is timeless. Brands can be successful in the long run by cultivating deep, lasting relationships with customers." —Steve Koonin, president, Turner Entertainment Networks
A couple camps overnight outside an Apple store to be first to buy the new iPad. A fan tattoos a Harley Davidson logo on his ankle. A young woman claims her Diet Coke is like her boyfriend. Are they crazy?
No. Research reveals that the connections we make with brands can be as deep and emotional as the relationships we have with other people. With some brands, we have wild, short-term flings. With others, we "fall in love" and enter a mutually beneficial relationship.
In ROMANCING THE BRAND: How Brands Create Strong, Intimate Relationships with Consumers (Feb. 3; Jossey-Bass), brand expert Tim Halloran argues that today’s effective marketer must foster a deep, committed, and emotionally-connected relationship with their consumer base.
While marketers generally excel at wooing customers to try their products in the short term, they often stumble when it comes to keeping the sparks alive in a long-term relationship. To reap the benefits of a romance, Halloran shows you secrets to identifying the right consumer, "meeting" that consumer in the right context, evolving and strengthening the relationship, and, on occasion, deciding when to start over or move on.
Research has proven the importance of meaningful brand-consumer engagement and interaction. We don’t just consume or interact with brands, Halloran notes; we actually engage in relationships with them. With some brands, we have wild,short-term flings, while others stay with us for a lifetime - like family. Some brands offer us strictly utilitarian relationships; they are in our daily lives, yet we have no emotional connection to them.
To win and keep customers in today’s brand environment, marketers must go beyond thinking about consumers as "target markets" simply to achieve awareness, trial and repeated purchases. They need to think about engaging consumers in a long-term relationship.
Halloran shares practical tips for creating and nurturing a genuine brand-consumer relationship with numerous entertaining stories based on firsthand interviews with the marketers of some of the world’s most iconic brands. These lessons include:
Make Them Feel Special: Instead of a "cattle-call" approach, Chick-fil–A introduced its spicy chicken sandwich with reservation based sampling to their most loyal consumers.
Create a Bond: Originally sold out of the back of a car, smartwater leveraged its biggest fans and most influential consumers to spread a message that married its functional benefits (purifies the body) to its consumer’s emotional needs (self-confidence). In just a few years it became the #1 premium water.
Rekindle the Spark: For over a hundred years Coca-Cola has refreshed its romance with its consumers through the magic of storytelling ranging from "I’d like to buy the world a Coke" to "Where will happiness strike next?"
Break Up: By abandoning moms in favor of teen males, Sprite doubled their sales volume in a few years and became the #1 brand among their new consumer group.
Many brands—think Harley Davidson, Apple, or Disney—have successfully created and cultivated a deep emotional connection with their consumer base. But how have they done it? And why does it matter today more than ever? Technology has provided new tools that we don’t fully understand or know how to use – primarily because we are trying to apply them within the context of an outdated way of thinking. We must think about marketing our brands in a completely different way to ultimately achieve success - a way that is fundamentally based upon the brand’s relationship with the consumer. Halloran inspires us to explore new ways to connect with the consumer by creating and nurturing a genuine relationship—one that’s as exciting and enduring as a great romance.
ROMANCING THE BRAND is the definitive guide to cultivating a lasting brand/consumer relationship.