Lovemarks theory is based on a simple premise: human beings are powered by emotion, not by reason.
This is the essence of the Lovemarks argument. If you want people to take action—whether for something momentous, like voting for a president, or seemingly mundane, like buying one brand of facial tissues over another—you need to appeal to their emotions.
Neurologist Donald Calne perhaps said it best: “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.”
How can we create the kind of appeal that makes people feel inspired or laugh or cry? First, we must realize that brands don’t just get it by asking. They start by giving love, demonstrating that they love the people who buy them. The sea change comes when brands stop thinking about their customers as “them” and start thinking about “us.” When marketers make this change, they start rewarding their customers every day with brand experiences that have special resonance in three key areas: mystery, sensuality, and intimacy.
Of all the potential aspects of emotional resonance, perhaps none is more important than the sense of mystery that comes from great storytelling. Annette Simmons, an expert in storytelling, puts it precisely: “When you tell a story that touches me, you give me the gift of human attention—the kind that connects me to you, that touches my heart and makes me feel more alive.”
Stories have huge value in business as well. They look in the right direction: at people. You cannot tell a story without characters and emotion and sensory detail. Even the dumbest chicken-crossing-the-road jokes have it. And stories capture us faster than the most elaborately produced annual report.
Sensuality is another aspect of emotional engagement that too many brands ignore. Lovemarks ask, “What does our brand smell like, taste like, look like, sound like, and feel like?” These are not easy questions, but the best brands find answers. If they are not in the food or perfume business, most marketers don’t immediately think that taste or smell are relevant. But taste and smell are surefire ways to stretch your brain about your brand. Walk through any mall in America and you can smell Hollister from a mile away (you can hear it at a slightly shorter distance), it is also the only store that actually invades the corridor space with its red-tiled porch. Hollister gets sensuality.