Love the Brand You’re In

lacosteAs it was Valentine’s Day this week I thought it might be interesting and just a little too late to be topical to discuss love in terms of marketing – aka love for brands.  We’ve probably all met people who have done quite strange things to express their love for a brand – I recently did a survey of pictures posted to pages on facebook – and came across anything from building furniture out of beer boxes, paining logos on cars, toatoos or anything imaginable people do to express thier love for a brand.

In academic terms, Thomson, MacInnis and Park have done some research regarding the issue – and they developed a scale to measure the strength of emotional connection with brands (It can be found here) . They identified three “clusters” of emotions that are experienced (and can be measured) to establish “brnad love”. They are affection, connection and passion. Each of these three has a number of items that can be used to measure the strenght: For the Affection construct, these are Affectionate, Loved, Peaceful and Friendly. For Connection, they are Attached, Bonded and Connected. And for Passion, the items are Passionate, Delighted and Captivated.

Aknowledging the Thomson, MacInnis and Park’s work, and developing it further, Albert and Valette-Florence more recently presented a simpler version of measuring brand love (full paper here). They reduced the major constructs to two items: Affection and Passion. Much of their scale is driven by the ideas of interpersonal love – which may explain the differences to previous work. For Affection, thy measure : “I experience great happiness with this brand.” “I feel emotionally close to this brand.” “When I am with this brand, we are almost always in the same mood.” “I think that this brand and I are quite similar to each other.” “There is something almost ‘magical’ about my relationship with this brand.” And “I feel tender toward this brand.” for the Passion factor they use: “If I could never be with this brand, I would feel miserable.” “I find myself thinking about this brand frequently during the day.” “Sometimes I feel I can’t control my thoughts; they are obsessively on the brand.” “If I were separated from this brand for a long time, I would feel intensely lonely.” “There is nothing more important to me than my relationship with the brand.” And “I would feel deep despair if this brand left me.”

Purely by looking at the scales, Thomson, MacInnis and Park’s scale may be more useful when dealing with “normal” brand to establish if people like the brand (and may even settle down for longer) – while Albert and Valette-Florence’s scale would be useful to measure superbrands, that may have a more loyal and lovin’ following (they actually tested their scale on companies like Apple, adidas and Chanel).

Either way, it seems good that love is still alive and kicking – even if it means getting a tatoo rather than a romantic night out. In that sense – hope you had a good Valentine’s day – and if not… there’s a brand out there that’s yearning to be loved!

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