Lovemarks: The Destination Brands Must Aspire To

Move over, brands. Make room for Lovemarks.

Kathryn Law
Kathryn Law
Director of Strategy

In this blog series, Only Co. team members share insights from books they’ve recently read, or are #CurrentlyReading, and talk about how it can apply to our business — and yours.

Demographics. Target Market. Consumer Segment.

When talking about the people your business is trying to reach, none of these words communicate “living.” Rather, it can oversimplify (and at times objectify) them. 

People are multi-faceted and complicated. But the one thing we know for sure is that humans are emotionally driven. Even the least emotional person finds themselves purchasing brands with emotion as a part of the decision — even if they won’t admit it.

Today, maybe more than ever, people are looking for emotional connections. Due to the increased number of choices, the brand with the highest pull of emotional connection wins the race.

“Our consumers are living, breathing people, and for people, falling in love is one of the most emotionally binding times of all.” - Kevin Roberts

Brands Vs. Lovemarks

In a world of mass marketing and commodification, the following are things your average “brand” can no longer do:

• Differentiate products.

• Prevent every innovation being imitated really fast.

• Impress demanding consumers.

• Orchestrate all the touchpoints with consumers: online, on-screen, outdoor, and in-store.

• Guarantee premium pricing. 

Here’s a breakdown of the difference between an ineffective brand and what Kevin Roberts, worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, defines as what’s necessary in today’s world — the “Lovemark:”

Brands: Lovemarks:
Information Relationship
Recognized by consumers Loved by people
Presents a narrative Tells a story
The promise of quality The touch of sensuality (smell, touch, taste, hear, see)
Defined attributes Wrapped in mystery
Values Spirit

Lovemarks result in loyalty beyond reason. Loyalty at its core is not based on reason — it’s an emotional response, a connection.
In contrast to the ineffectiveness of a stale brand, Lovemarks offer you:

• New aspiration.

• New inspiration for outstanding creativity.

• A platform for creating, protecting, and growing premium value.

• A new reality, where consumers are at the heart of everything you do.

• A new role for judgment. Business problems in the real world demand judgment, perspectives and benchmarks. These are the foundations of Lovemarks.

So, the big question: how do you make the transition from brand to Lovemark?

There are three key elements you need to consider when building your brand into a Lovemark:

  1. Mystery. Tell just enough for someone to dream up metaphors, pull in personal stories, and uncover symbols — but not so much that everything is left on the table. If you tell people everything up front, there is nothing left to discover.

  2. Sensuality. Allow people to experience your brand the way people experience the world: through vision, smell, hearing, touch, and taste.

  3. Intimacy. Create sacred connection without being face-to-face with each customer, by honing in empathy, commitment, and passion. All of this results in undying loyalty.

To successfully achieve all three of those authentically, you must put yourself at the heart of everything the customer does, instead of putting the demographic at the heart of everything you do. When you do this, you become priceless. 

(A quick aside: price is what companies put on the tag, whereas value is what consumers feel they get out of the experience. And consumers redefine value everyday. This discussion could open the door to an entire blog on price vs. value...but we’ll leave that for another day!)

The Catch

Here’s the tricky thing — you don’t get to decide when/if your brand reaches the Lovemark destination. Only your consumers do. 

When you get there, I promise you’ll know it. You will know it by your sales, by the way people talk about you, and by the types of people you start to attract both internally and externally.

The journey is hard, but ask yourself: would you rather have someone just recognize your brand, or just like it — or really love it? 

Yeah, us too.

To read more, check out Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands by Kevin Roberts.


We’re more than a marketing agency or creative agency - we build businesses. 

At Only Co., our Only is Finding Yours.

Do your customers believe that you’re the only choice? Do they see and recognize your value before they pay you to do what you do best?

If you want to win, and make your competition scratch their head... you need to define your ONLY — the thing that makes you unique in the market.

Make a world where your competition can’t win at your game anymore.

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