Lovemarks panned

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

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[UPDATE: Here’s a list of all my entries on Lovemarks]

I don’t love Lovemarks Kevin Roberts’ colourful new mantra for the world of advertising. So I enjoyed Chris Lawer’s full-on rant Brand Lovemarks. What provokes Chris’ ire is this fawning coverage from (I’m sorry to say) Fast Company:

And now in a breakthrough for market researchers and love bunnies alike Roberts and a British company QIQ International Limited, have developed a tool to quantify the emotional power of a brand. QIQ’s research technique measures the twin drivers of what Roberts dubs a “lovemark”: respect (performance, trust, and reputation) and love (mystery, sensuality, and intimacy). Marketers have long measured performance and trust, but mystery, sensuality, and intimacy are brand attributes few have thought to worry about, let alone quantify…

All these results are then mapped on a love-respect axis. In the lower-left quadrant — low love, low respect — are commodities such as sand, salt, and brussels sprouts. Roberts says many telcos risk falling into that unlovable hole. On the flip side of the chart — high love, low respect — are fads, fashions, and infatuations: things we love for the moment but soon abandon. Think Beanie Babies and reality TV. Most solid, respectable brands live in the upper-left quadrant, home of high respect and low love: Maxwell House, Dell, Colgate, Holiday Inn. Roberts says even he was surprised at how many products consumers consign to this less-than-desirable class. “Lovemarks might, on first blush, sound sweet,” he says, “but the approach is actually ruthless — Darwinian, even.”

I’m with Chris when he says

Quite frankly, this is the most ridiculous thing I have read on Branding for some time.

That marketers think they can plot such deeply human values as love and respect on a 2×2 is so damn arrogant it is untrue. Is this a wind-up?…

And what do they mean by quantifying “mystery, sensuality, and intimacy” as “vital ingredients of your brands lovemark”? Come on, please. Nobody anywhere really understands “love” yet suddenly a bunch of delusional brand marketers do….

What utter arrogance that organisations think they can compare their brand-customer relationship to the bond between a father and son or husband and wife!!!

“What are you doing tonight, Chris?”

“Ah, I am taking my lawnmower out for a few beers. You know we’ve been getting much closer these days and well, the way she handles my straight lawn lines is well, awesome. We really deserve each other and we might even move into the shed together for the Winter.

Yes, I think delusional is the word. Actually, perhaps masturbatory is the word?

I glimpsed through this book at Waterstone’s and laughed out loud when I realised it is chock full of case studies of… Saatchi clients (Roberts is the Saatchi CEO). Perhaps the most preposterous of these was the section eulogising the ads for Tide, which appear to qualify it as a Lovemark.

As is so often the case, in praising his clients Roberts in really only praising himself.

I don’t have a 2×2 matrix for Love but I do know it’s not the same as narcissism. Does Kevin Roberts?

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