Taking Your Brand from Commodity to Lovemark with Social Media

When Kevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi thought up the concept of Lovemarks — brands that command respect and love, social media was just starting out. Now social media can be your key to taking your brand to the next level.

Think of that brand, the one you defend, the one you are fiercely loyal to beyond reason and logic. That is your Lovemark.

Now think of your own brand. Who is your brand? Who fights for your brand? Engage with your customers on social media and you can take their passion and build your brand or product into a Lovemark.

lovemarkKevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi explains that there are products that go far beyond the brand. Every product can be measured in terms of respect and love. The schema starts with straight products (commodities) that hold neither your love nor respect. Then there are fads which command love, however without respect there is only infatuation which does not last. Fads include the Tamagotchi or more recently Silly Bandz. Closer to Lovemarks there are brands that command respect but without love their worth can easily fade. These include brands that have become generic nouns such as Escalator, Band-Aid and ChapStick.

Finally there are Lovemarks, those brands that command both respect and love. They are iconic and invoke emotion, so much emotion that people will fight for you or even be patient enough to wait on you. These are brands that are a part of your life that you wouldn’t dare live without.  Optimizing the power of social media to heighten the emotional connection with your customers and simultaneously having them make a commitment to you is one of the best ways to build and maintain your Lovemark.

It’s All About Persuasion
iphone line

In today’s marketplace, you have almost no time to convince someone at point of purchase to choose your product. It is vital to have the
consumers’ attention prior to their trip to a store. The persuasion begins with convincing consumers they need your type of product and then that your product is the best choice.

If your brand is a Lovemark, however, people will wait on you. I can’t wait more than two minutes at a traffic light but there are people that will wait hours for Apple. According to a recent Mashable article, there were 1,417 people waiting in line at 8 am for the iPhone 5S at the NYC flagship store.

This is not reason, this is pure emotion. If a person will fight you for a product, it is no longer purely a product. It has become personified into a Lovemark. Apple serves as a prime example.

The Principles of Lovemarks

When Kevin Roberts published Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands in 2004, Facebook was only 3 months old, an infant. Now, Social Media is in full throttle. Today the principles, which Kevin Roberts wrote about, can reach full engagement.

If you already work with a brand that is a Lovemark, you must fight to keep it there using these principles. If you want to transform your brand or product into a Lovemark, you must work within these principles to personify it. With Social Media on your side evoking passion, involving customers, celebrating loyalty, and telling stories is much easier than it was 10 years ago.


Achieving the Principles of Lovemarks

Be Passionate

Passion is nearly impossible to fake; I’ve always believed it is near tangible. By transforming their own passion into a contagious virus, the campaigns below transformed commodities into Lovemarks. The “Blendtec: Will it Blend?” campaign in 2006 did a great job at showing their passion for their products and getting customers just as excited. The most recent Will It Blend: iPhone 5s and 5c edition has already garnered almost 1.7 million views.

In another example, Temple University (with help from agency Neiman Group) reached out to staff, students and alumni on Facebook and Twitter with the objective of getting them to share their candid photos on Instagram to recruit prospective students. The campaign drove their target audience to a microsite where they could sort by academic or social interest. This campaign ignited a movement which promoted the Temple way of life and within one month, web traffic from prospective students increased by 36%. This campaign was the winner of the 2013 Social Media Icon Awards’ Instagram: PR Campaign.  By acknowledging that passion is contagious, Temple University cultivated their brand into a Lovemark for the next generation of students.

Involve Customers

Involving customers is an important step in ensuring your brand earns or maintains a position in your customers’ hearts. Both brands below committed to a relationship with their customers with the result of their customers accepting their proposal.

The interactive hit Old Spice “Smell Like a Man, Man” involved consumers by having Isaiah Mustafa respond to questions submitted via Twitter and other social media sites. This viral campaign set benchmarks for both consumer engagement and the ability to relaunch a brand to transform it into a Lovemark. To quantify it (as all of us in marketing like to do), Procter & Gamble states there were nearly 105 million YouTube views of the campaign and 1.2 billion earned media impressions.

Another much less referenced campaign is Taco Bell’s 4/20 Twitter campaign in 2012. Marketing executives at Taco Bell embraced their brand and engaged with customers’ tweets all day.

taco bell

When consumers decide to have a relationship with a brand and that brand commits back, Lovemarks are maintained.

Celebrate Loyalty

If you’ve ever had a conversation with someone that is currently or was in the military, you are well aware that they believe their branch is superior to the others. Whether it be the Army, Marines, Air Force, or Navy they are fiercely loyal. Each of these branded branches is the epitome of a Lovemark.

When Navy Federal CU reached 4 million members, they celebrated their members’ loyalty by honoring the stories of how the bank was there for them during difficult times. They captured these stories on video and shared them with their online community. A six week Facebook video campaign began where you could submit and vote on favorites with the chance to win $4000 in various categories.

The numbers speak for themselves. The campaign resulted in the acquisition of 60,000 new members, a 500% increase in Facebook Fans as well as a total of 36,000 new certificates totaling $90 million in revenue and 5,400 auto refinancing loans for $96 million. By re-telling stories in which they were the superhero they reminded their current customers to stick with them and generated fresh interest by capturing the hearts of consumers.

 Find, Tell & Re-tell Great Stories

Oreo, DraftFCB and 360i knew that Oreo was already a Lovemark; everyone has their own Oreo story. This campaign brilliantly retells nostalgic pop culture stories by becoming the protagonist in the story. They created a “virtual newsroom” to reimagine pop culture through the eyes of Oreo over 100 days for their centennial celebration. This sparked discussion and a deeper commitment by their fans. They saw a 280% increase in Facebook shares and 510% increase in retweets as well as 230 million earned media impressions.


Each piece of content was exciting, endearing and witty. Most of all the campaign connected Oreo lovers via cultural moments that evoked passion. Oreo maintained and escalated its place as a Lovemark via this emotive campaign.

commit to Your values & your customers

Whether you are a new brand that is starting out, a brand that is fighting to be on top, or already there, it’s important to know who you are so that consumers do, too. Staying true to your core and revealing why you are passionate about your brand will infect your customers with that same passion.

Social media has made invoking passion and showing your true colors infinitely easier and less expensive. To become a Lovemark it is vital to commit to your customers and continue to foster the relationship. Becoming one means that people have invested themselves in your continued success. Once you are a Lovemark, you must accept the responsibility that comes along with the honor.

responses to “Taking Your Brand from Commodity to Lovemark with Social Media”

  1. I can get passionate about this post.. it’s mostly snack food stories 🙂

  2. […] Learn how social media can take turn your brand into a Lovemark — a brand that commands respect and love — through passion, loyalty, and engagement. (RT @JimBurch: There's brands and there's lovemarks.  […]

  3. […] Taking Your Brand from Commodity to Lovemark with Social Media (iacquire.com) […]

  4. […] Taking Your Brand from Commodity to Lovemark with Social Media […]