12 Ways To Make The World Fall In Love With Your Brand : Under30CEO 12 Ways To Make The World Fall In Love With Your Brand : Under30CEO
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12 Ways To Make The World Fall In Love With Your Brand

| April 12, 2012 | 17 Comments

On February 16, 2011 The Borders Group announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection, listing $1.275 billion in assets and $1.293 billion in debts.

Within the boardroom of its Ann Arbor, Michigan headquarters were crisis talks of private equity investment, auctions, petitions, lease takeovers, bids and eventually, liquidation.

Across America and the world, the brand’s lovers felt emotions that hollow the stomach, while business analysts focused on Borders’ failure to surf the irreversible digital wave and other actions that, with creeping determinism, could have prevented the crash of a loved empire.

Personally, I reflected on my days at Borders’ multi-leveled Post Street store at Union Square in San Francisco, where I left my heart and memories sitting by the windowsill, lost in time, scanning and selecting books, music and magazines.

When people like brands, they have personal relationships but are relatively indifferent to news of its collapse. They reflect on the reality that failure is just a part of business.

However, when people love brands, they are actively engaged and outspoken investors in its future. Company stewards face public backlash and occasionally praise for a brand’s evolution, rise and demise.

With brands we love, our emotional connection as consumers transcend logical mathematical measurements of limit. Advertising genius Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi writes that ultimately, love is what is needed to rescue brands.

Additionally, respected advertising leader and CEO of M&C Saatchi Asia, Chris Jaques, emphatically repeats the serious business of social media. Jaques challenges advertising executives to discard old marketing textbooks and learn from pioneer Lady Gaga, who has achieved definitive love status. Beyond pushing creative dimensions, Jaques also argues for an academic understanding on why people ‘like’ or ‘follow’ brands. Companies perceive that they are liked or followed because people want to learn about their new products and gain exclusive information. However, IBM studies prove a huge disconnect, with fans and followers claiming interest in discounts. This perception-reality gap, amongst many others, must be bridged to earn love in this new economy of mass consumption, mass media, mass participation and mass judgment.

As brand captains, we are often self-satisfied when sales rise, equating it to increased consumer engagement and love. However, only a distinguished circle of brands will ever be loved like Apple, Google, Disney, MTV, Oreo, Coca-Cola, Nike, Barbie, The NBA and Michael Jackson.

Like generic black umbrellas mass-purchased on a rainy day or a promotionally priced chocolate bar strategically positioned beside national cashier queues, most of our brands are more convenient or liked, than loved, actually.

Achieving love is an artful pursuit and here are 12 ways to make the world fall in love with your brand and transform it from being liked by a few to loved by the masses:

1. Deliver visionary innovation. Visionary innovation is the consistent art of delivering products and services that push the boundaries of mass imagination. Stop trying to be smaller, smallest, lighter, lightest, cheaper, cheapest and any other ‘er’ and ‘est’ word. These are the pursuits of opportunistic challenger brands imitating, capitalizing and nibbling into an innovator’s market share. They are not the hallmarks of visionary brands that constantly deliver world-changing innovations that create new markets, rather than disrupt them. Case Study, Apple.

2. Deliver trusted authority. Loved brands seemingly have no competition. They are industry stewards and undisputed category leaders. They are top of mind, top of wallet and the natural selection, consistently at the highest rung of the purchase or option decision ladder. In the eyes of mass consumers, the brand is light years ahead and an alternative just does not exist. Case study, Google.

3. Deliver unquestionable performance. Performance is the foundation of promise fulfillment. Performance is not questioned, it is simply enjoyed. Case study, Mercedes-Benz.

4. Deliver consistent confidence. Gaining and retaining customer confidence is a cradle-to-the-grave pursuit. While liked brands deliver reliability, loved brands deliver dependable, consistent confidence across their products, services, distribution channels and locations. Case study, Starbucks.

5. Deliver stunning art. Brands must deliver art that stuns with creativity, attention to detail and aesthetic beauty of form and function. Case study, Harley Davidson.

6. Deliver insider pride. Create products and services with features that insiders and owners love, talk and brag about, that outsiders can only enviously desire. Case study, American Express.

7. Deliver tailored possibilities. In a world where products and services are mass-produced, marketed, distributed and owned, customization and individuality rank high in consumer preferences. To be loved, companies should explore and present tailored possibilities. Case study, Nike ID.

8. Deliver authentic value. People love brands that honestly champion their pursuit for value and hate brands that insult their intelligence and subsequent right to decide and reconsider. Deliver authentic value in your terms, conditions, guarantees, warranties, marketing communications and pricing policies. Stop shaping the perception of value and start delivering it. Case study, IKEA.

9. Deliver boastful talent. Only brands that are truly loved from within will ever be loved from the outside. Ignite internal passion by delivering stellar working terms and conditions for your talent and they will be your loudest and proudest brand champions, ever. Case study, DreamWorks Animation SKG.

10. Deliver evident empathy. Social media has force-opened the gate for brands to properly listen to their customers and either neglect or empathetically connect. The smartest brands will empathize and rapidly problem-solve, acting upon online promises and words. Case Study, Comcast via @comcastcares.

11. Deliver spellbinding magic. Moonwalk from being liked to loved by delivering inspiring, spellbinding magical moments that leave consumers and audiences believing that the brand experience was ‘out of this world’. Case study, Michael Jackson.

12. Deliver justified excitement. The by-product of mass excitement is chaotic, hysterical and frenzied anticipation. Loved brands always keep rumor mills turning and its lovers guessing about the next product or service launch. Case study, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

In life, the most important relationship is love.

What many brand leaders fail to grasp and act upon is that love is also the most important relationship in business. Love transforms a relationship from a simple consumer connection into a hardened emotional dependency and staunch commitment.

Wants become needs and conditional brand ‘like’ transforms into an illogical, inelastic and unconditional lifetime ‘love’ affair.

When love enters into any equation, money exits wallets and profits surface on balance sheets.

In business, you get what you give.

Wempy Dyocta Koto is the CEO of Wardour And Oxford, a global business development agency partnering entrepreneurs, startups, emerging companies and Fortune 1000 brands to make money locally and internationally. The company provides management consultancy, global lead generation, sales, marketing, distribution, communications, public relations, events and appointment setting services, connecting clients to CEOs, business leaders, venture capitalists, angel investors, political, creative, entertainment and royal connections. With global operations, Wardour And Oxford transforms its clients’ futures and fortunes by making business happen today. Explore http://www.wardourandoxford.com or email connect@wardourandoxford.com. Follow @wempydyoctakoto.

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Category: Startup Advice

  • http://entrepreneurialambitions.com/ Yura Bryant

    Great article. It is true for a brand to be loved it must bring forth some type of connection the competition cannot produce or imitate. Creating a successful and loved brand is very important in this rapidly changing and evolving marketplace but is a challenge which should be pursued feverishly in order to separate your business from the rest.


  • Asmith

    Great article. Loved the case studies. 

  • http://twitter.com/Fromageball Christina

     Good article…I was surprised that Comcast made the list of case studies though. I don’t know a single person who has been subjected to Comcast customer service who would agree that “Comcast cares”

  • http://www.wardourandoxford.com Wempy Dyocta Koto

    Thank you for reading the article and your kind words. Best wishes.


    Wardour And Oxford
    Global Business Development Agency

  • http://www.wardourandoxford.com Wempy Dyocta Koto

    Christina, thank you for reading the article and your kind comment. I completely understand your point and pre-empted that Comcast’s inclusion in this article would raise eyebrows. Here’s my thinking: Point Number 10 talks about winning love by delivering ‘evident empathy’. Comcast provides complex high-speed internet, cable TV and phone services, which is not the sexiest or easiest of services to attract ‘love’, as opposed to your favourite band, chocolate bar, fashion designer or gadget. I referenced Comcast because in spite of the operational and customer service challenges you may have experienced as a client, they are, in the world of social media delivering ‘evident empathy’. Many companies have employed an ‘under rug swept’ policy to complaints on social media. Others have completely failed to employ a truly constructive, honest and evidently empathetic dialogue with frustrated customers. When you explore the communications taking place on Comcast’s Twitter feed, you will note that they are responding effectively to complaints and compliments in the open world of social media. When people are frustrated with a brand, they have zero patience for 1:1 private call center dialogue and will voice their anger with the world. A brand will never always operationally deliver perfect products and services. As customers, we all have been trained to accept that. However, loved brands will always acknowledge their failings, act upon it and close the case with the singular goal of u-turning perception. Since brands cannot silence people, social media provides a stellar platform for ultimately winning love by delivering ‘evident empathy’. Thank you for the point you raised and for joining the conversation, Christina. Best wishes.


    Wardour And Oxford
    Global Business Development Agency

  • MsCookie08

    Very informative article and right on time especially with the rise of entrepreneurs. So many people miss the point that Branding is everything and it is how the world will perceive and receive your products/services. I was most interested in the highlight of stunning art, evident empathy, and justified excitement! I will definitely take all 12 of these ways into consideration as I continue to develop a brand that lasts! #Encourage,Empower, Embrace! 

  • Jaka Wiradisuria

    Great insights as now I’m struggling with growing Valadoo.com as strong brand in travel industry, especially in Indonesia and its surroundings. Your point on number 6 (insider pride) is a ‘right on’ as people here are mostly social-class climbers, especially the middle class. We love to brag, thus word-of-mouth is not a rare occasion.

    (anyway, congrats on Baba Rafi expansion :D)


  • http://www.wardourandoxford.com Wempy Dyocta Koto

    Jaka, thank you for the compliment and your comment regarding ‘insider pride’. When creating premium products and services, delivering ‘insider pride’ is vital. As a brand leader, you are the ‘bouncer’ or guardian of the velvet rope. You dictate who can and who cannot have a financial relationship with your brand. Obviously, pricing is a basic strategy that is used to create a perception of value. However, there are other branding, marketing, service and proposition tools that can drive desirability to levels of relatively price inelastic ‘love’. As you highlighted, developing economies such as Indonesia – with its population of 240 million people and being the world’s 18th most powerful economy, has a powerful middle class. Ownership of luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Mercedes Benz continue to deliver ‘insider pride’ that is more amplified and conspicuous than in developed economies such as the United Kingdom, France, U.S and Germany. There are 3.3 million millionaires in Asia-Pacific, which is more than the number of millionaires in Europe. Soon, there will be more millionaires in Asia than the 3.4 million millionaires currently in North America. The challenge for premium brands is to gate keep who can or cannot access their brands – a challenge multiplied by the counterfeit market predominantly originating from mainland China. Nevertheless, Asia Pacific accounts for 45% of global sales for luxury brand Richemont whose subsidiaries include Cartier, IWC Schaffhausen and Montblanc – a figure which is quite representative of many global luxury brands operating in the region. ‘Insider pride’ is key for driving love and although I leveraged the premium market to argue my point, ‘insider pride’ does not only relate to expensive products. Reflect on the ‘insider pride’ of a child who owns a ‘Barbie’ doll or ‘Nike’ shoes, rather than an alternative brand. Jaka, I wish you all the best with your Valadoo.com pursuits and thank you for the congratulations on Kebab Turki Baba Rafi. My team at Wardour And Oxford and I have been working hard to expand Kebab Turki Baba Rafi internationally. With 800 stores, we are now on a mission to achieve 1,000 outlets for the brand across Asia –  which we are on track to achieve by the end of 2012. An enormous effort which proves the miracle of entrepreneurship, strong global + local market insight, partnership and honest, hard work. Thank you and best wishes.


    Wardour And Oxford
    Global Business Development Agency

  • http://jobtalknj.com Suzanne Kaplan

    Great article, Wempy! I especially like how you use examples of specific companies to help illustrate your point.

  • Ctinblue

    Great article – thanks for the case studies, very helpful :) 

  • Ctinblue

    Great article – thanks for the case studies, very helpful :) 

  • http://www.facebook.com/michaeljcalkins Michael Calkins

    I love that: “In business, you get what you give.”

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  • @fadillmuarif

    love the article…a brand must have a story to make us fall in love :-)

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