The neurologist Donald Calne once said “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.”
An action is worth more than thousands of words. And thousands of words ultimately aim to call for an action. It’s true for both life and media. All creative concepts and words in media are worth nothing if they fail to encourage consumers to take action – buy the products.
Before calling for any action (e.g. purchasing behavior), brands should first emotionally associate with their consumers.
In 1999, Man United made a triple (Champion League, Premier League & FA Cup) with its golden generation of David Beckham, Giggs, Scholes, Keen, Stam, etc. Those talents created a sexy style called “MU style”. At the same year, Nottingham Forest (a club that was nearly unknown for majority) was downgraded. When the final game of the season ended, 5-year-old Jimmy Clark asked his crying father, a loyal Nottingham Forest fan: why didn’t you be a fan of MU so that you hadn’t cried? They have so many trophies and that always show a great football style. “No, my dear. For us, Nottingham Forest is the best,” smiled Mr. Clark.
Nottingham Forest does not care what the rest of Premier League thought about them. The only thing they need is the sympathy from their loyal fans (or target audience). For those like Mr. Clark, Nottingham Forest is the real “beauty” from the bottom of their heart.
Starbucks penetrated Vietnam. A lots of customers, driven by curiousness, queued up in the long line just to buy a big, weak coffee at the price of 100,000 VND. Many people uttered that they could not understand why such a “coffee-flavoured sugar water” like Starbucks could drive people get mad. They claimed that they would only be loyal to the strong traditional drip filtered coffee near their houses.
Starbucks doesn’t care much about these critics. “The mermaid” silently smiles because she knows that a big part of the youth is not interested in whether her coffee is strong and traditionally full-bodied (like a Vietnamese drip filtered cup of coffee). She is sure that her beholders are the group looking for a “third place” where they not just come to drink a cup of coffee. They need to gather with friends and colleagues, instead.
Why Mr. Clark and his son chose an unfamiliar Nottingham Forest instead of the famous Man United as their own lover? Why do many drinkers come to street café of roasted coffee selling a cup of coffee at the same price of Starbucks? Are you sure that strong, full-bodied cups of drip filtered coffee in Hanoi small alleys don’t consist of any contaminants? “How irrational it is!” said Mr. Logic. But “Emotion does not care of logic” “Mr. Non-logic” smiled.
The Western people have an old saying that “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”
In the book “Lovemarks”, Juan Carlos Rodriguez, Saatchi & Saatchi’s CEO, claimed that successful brands are considered as human. Lovemarkscan inspire their customers in the same way of friends and family. The definition of Lovemarks is that human is actually more effected by emotion than rationale.
AMR London, researching partner of Saatchi & Saatchi, did a survey of 4,000 brands in 50 countries to learn the proportion of Lovemarks brands. The result is that only 10% brands belongs to this list.
There are over 600 millions MU fans all over the world (data by leading English research company Kantar Media), which means one of every 10 people in this world is a MU fan. Assuming that one day United is downgraded like Nottingham Forest, how many people will cry and proudly say: for me, United is always the only and best love I’ve ever had. For such an attractive name like United, even if the assumption comes true, I bet that there are so many people with the heart of sympathy like Mr. Clark and his son to Nottingham Forest. In this terms of having “beholders”, Nottingham can be in the same level of United. Despite its little fame, Nottingham Forest can be considered as a Lovemarks to its group of loyal customers.
Human emotion is very unpredictable. It can love this one but hates another without any logic rules. Instead of logic analysis, brands should “catch” the emotion of consumers to have a feedback in the same way. Brand loyalty is sometimes formed by many abstract, unquantified factors. It’s impossible for Nottingham Forest plays as sexy as Man United; or for the street café to be as attractive as Starbucks. But to exist (no matter how brand is small or big), brands must win the hearts of their own loyal customers.
A brand, no matter small or big, famous or unknown, must be the “beauty” in the eyes of its “beholders”: target audience. Failing to do this, a product is just “commodity” instead of “brand”.
Brands should be the Lovemarks for its own lovers.
Richard Moore Associates