There are over 213,000,000 brands in the world.
Thankfully, so that our amygdalas don’t fuse entirely, most of us will be blissfully unaware of around 212,999,800 of them.
And of the two hundred or so that make a regular impact on our lives, we’ll be — at best — ambivalent about the majority: concerned about them only when it comes to purchase intent, or when vociferously swearing about them after something’s gone wrong.
But a lucky few brands (read lucky as astute and well-managed) will have achieved that most treasured of marketing prizes: love in our hearts.
The power of brand love
The idea of loving a brand is a divisive one. Some marketers eulogise the idea that brand love is a thing felt by all of us. That the love and commitment we as marketers have for our own brands can readily translate to an audience chomping at to share in our adoration.
More recently, this idea has been countered by a growing swell of marketers saying there’s no such thing as brand love; that 99.9% of us are as incapable of loving a brand as we are of loving a screaming child on a 10-hour transatlantic flight.
Twenty years ago, you could imagine someone proudly displaying the Nike tattoo they had (ever-so-tastefully) done above their left ankle. Today, not so much.
At Woven, we think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. That, yes, most brands will pass unnoticed by most people, but that the pursuit of love — brand behaviour that courts and fosters long-term consumer relationships — is still an important strategic aim.
Even if most people don’t love brands, you should still behave as if people can love yours.
In fact, along with ‘How can we make our brand famous?’, the question of ‘How can we make people love us?’ might be the important of all.
And clearly researchers like Savanta agree, because every year they take the time to ask hundreds of thousands of people in the UK which brands they adore, scaling from 1 to 6 — from dislike through to indifference through to that holiest of grails, brand love.
And the winner is…
Proving that love is sweet, the most-loved brand in the UK is Cadbury.
Yep, Savanta’s detailed, assiduous, time-consuming research has revealed that… Brits love chocolate. Who knew? Although in an era of digital deference and tech totality, it’s oddly — almost anachronistically — comforting to know that a 200-year-old confectionary brand still rules our collective hearts.
Savanta’s work reveals a number of other juicy tidbits, too. For example, three of the top ten most-loved brands are streaming services. Four of the top five are fewer than 30 years old. And Facebook doesn’t feature at all — not even in the top 100, proving once and for all that all publicity is good publicity is a load of nonsense. (Although the Meta-owned WhatsApp makes an appearance at number nine.)
But perhaps most importantly, the research shows the differences between who loves what — and, in the process, reveals that old stereotypical divides are still firmly in place.
Love is in the eye of the (segmented) beholder
If your aim is to get people to love your brand (or at least like it) then it’s important to understand that love means different things to different people.
As part of your ‘segment / target / position’ (STP) marketing strategy (because you do have a marketing strategy, right?), you’ll want to define what people like (segment) so you can better build your product and communications around them (target) and leave them with the overriding mental picture you want to convey (position).
Savanta’s findings reveal the still-existing differences between north and south, male and female, Gen Zs and boomers — all the classic cultural divides that remain doggedly pertinent today. And while often broad and historical, these divides reveal potent variances in how these people behave — and thus how you should approach them.
M&S is still the best-loved brand for the 60+ market. Our overall winner, Cadbury, doesn’t even make the top ten for males. Netflix holds the number one or two spot for under 50s, whether male or female. And Apple and Moet champagne is a southern staple, while northerners prefer Aldi and Robinsons.
The lesson here is that there are still vital differences to be found in traditional segments — differences marketers should pay attention to in order to find a place in the hearts of their consumers.
Lessons in love
Take a look at Savanta’s research here, and then apply the findings to your own brand. Do they reinforce your current STP strategy? Have you segmented your market? Are you targeting the right people? Do you need to change your product, pricing, positioning or marketing comms to better charm the hearts of those you’re courting?
Yes, this is foundational stuff — but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth revisiting to see if you’ve got it right. Because if you don’t, you’re destined to be one of those 212,999,800 brands that aren’t just not loved, they’re not thought about at all.
Want to be truly loved? We’ll make it happen.