Brand Book Bites: Romancing the Brand

–  the book:  Romancing the Brand: How Brands Create Strong, Intimate Relationships with Consumers – an easy read filled with fascinating brand storiesromancing-the-brand

–  the brain:  Tim Halloran, former executive at Coca-Cola and current consultant to companies including Home Depot, Kraft Foods, and the NBA

–  the best bits: This book is all about making customers fall in love with your brand.  Tim writes,

“The secret of successful marketing in this new age…lies in creating and nurturing a powerful, passionate, and genuine relationship between the brand and consumer. The strongest brands have always viewed their consumer base in a relational manner – not as an entity to be taken advantage of but as a partner to engage, delight, and excite.”

The book outlines the principles that successful brands use to establish these kinds of relationships:

  • Understand your consumers and their specialness
  • Determine how you’ll be different
  • Tell your story and create an experience
  • Have a compelling personality that shines through all your interactions
  • Make your partner feel special
  • Leverage your evangelists to spread the word
  • Be honest
  • Leverage mistakes and missteps to get stronger
  • Make the relationship the highest priority in everything you do

In case you’re wondering how this book relates to technical, industry, and other B2B brands, Tim explains, “…behind every stated physical need lie higher-order emotional needs that must also be met.”

–  the brand story:  The book is filled with great stories but the one that really resonated me was Powerade.  It’s the classic tale of a category dominated by one brand, Gatorade, and a challenger brand Powerade that used a compelling brand strategy to successfully compete.  Although Powerade could have made the claim that it offered 33% more carbohydrates than Gatorade, the team knew that wasn’t going to win over Gatorade’s entrenched adult franchise with such a rational appeal.  Instead it sets its target on the under-18 crowd and figured out how to connect with them.  They linked the brand to key emotional drivers of teen sports such as masculinity, confidence, and perseverance, and positioned the brand as an essential piece of sports “equipment.” Finally they enrolled the “big men on campus,” high school sports leaders, to become brand evangelists.  It was a winning strategy that exemplifies the principles I outline in my book What Great Brands Do, including “Great Brands Don’t Chase Customers” and “Great Brands Avoid Selling Products.”

–  the bottom line:  What the book lacks in instruction, it makes up for in inspiration.  Romancing the Brand pulls back the curtain on some of the greatest brand stories including New Coke, Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man campaign, and smartwater.  You’ll really enjoy reading it.

In my interview with Tim, he explains the impetus behind the idea of brand romance as well as:

  • how marketers must create passionate feelings for their brands
  • why you must both know yourself and know your consumer
  • how competing on functional benefits ultimately lead to unsuccessful one-upmanship

Take a listen:

other brand book bites:

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