Hot blood emotions are seldom the route to loyalty

For more evidence why lovemarks don’t matter see “How Brands Grow“.

Recently, I attended an “emotions in marketing” conference in Amsterdam to hear Tex Gunning, Managing Director of AkzoNobel Decorative Paints (global owner of brands such as Dulux). Unexpectedly Tex invited me up on stage to talk briefly about “How Brands Grow” which he praised.

I was followed by Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi, who presented for an hour on LoveMarks. He started by saying what I said was “scientific claptrap” – I was delighted.

What did I say that perturbed Kevin? Well a few things, here is an account I found by someone in the audience.

The Amsterdam conference had the theme: “emotions in marketing”. And I was asked what I thought about this. I replied that emotions were important but that I felt marketing was grabbing the wrong end of the stick – instead of thinking about the subtle emotive reactions that result in the processing of advertising (rather than screening it out) all the talk was of hot-blooded emotional commitment to brands. These strong emotions are thought to underpin loyalty but we’ve known for decades that that isn’t true.

And then, I illustrated with a little experiment. I noted that there were about 200 chairs in the room and everyone had just got up and then returned from a coffee break. So then I asked for anyone to put their hand up if they had returned to exactly the same chair they were sitting in previously – nearly everyone did. “Amazing loyalty” I said, “but not presumably due to your strong emotional commitment to that particular plastic white chair” 🙂

This and other loyalty phenomena have been documented by social scientists, (and more research is underway at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute).

Kevin Roberts didn’t like any of this. Obviously.

So what was Kevin’s talk like ? Well he has the gift of the gab, an animated speaker, although he flagged towards the end. His content…… half or more was TV ads, over and over. Great creative but it got exhausting, it was too much, for too long. Don’t ask me what brands the ads were for, I can’t remember – says a lot doesn’t it.

Kevin, at heart, is a story teller, a classic ad man, which is an important skill. That said, he is someone who never lets truth get in the way of a good story. And that was his message, that ads that told stories would build lovemarks that would engender loyalty beyond reason and premium profits (no evidence needed). He constantly praised Apple, who interestingly largely don’t tell stories in their advertising, they show product (iPad 2 – thinner, faster, lighter, smart covers, 10 hour battery life). Ah well, as I said, why let the real world get the way of a good story?

www.MarketingScience.info

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8 thoughts on “Hot blood emotions are seldom the route to loyalty

  1. Excellent post. It is so easy to get distracted by hot blooded – especially in an industry that seeks movie directors to make their ads.

    But also, it occurs to me that the more subtle emotions are harder work. Is it harder to measure the degree to which advertising evokes them since they are cloudier for consumers?

  2. Interesting… I am a big fan of Kevin and of Lovemarks. So much so that I have based my pitch to brands around the concept. It is good to have a counter point of view. I am not convinced as yet so I guess I will be following you on Twitter and might have to buy your book….

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