An affair of the heart

Why emotions matter when it comes to branding.

Why emotions matter when it comes to branding. Richard Hytner, Deputy Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide and London Business School (LBS) Adjunct Professor of Marketing, talks about brands that command Loyalty Beyond Reason™.


People act on emotion. They reason with conclusions, but they act on emotions. To really succeed in the Age of Now, you have to move people with the heart. 

At Saatchi & Saatchi, we have a point of view about brands called Lovemarks, those brands that command Loyalty Beyond Reason™, the kind of products, services, places and people that earn our irrational loyalty. Our relationships with them are steeped in some kind of deep emotional connection.

According to our research, brands like Apple, Google, Disney, Pampers and Singapore Airlines and, in the B2B world, UPS, CISCO and Reuters, they’re built on foundations of respect. No respect means no love, so it’s important that these products and services, to build and maintain our trust, do what they say they’re going to do.

But on top of that they build an emotional connection through feelings of intimacy, a sense that these brands belong uniquely to you in some way; through playing to all five senses like Nespresso; and by preserving some mystery, through their iconography, history and storytelling; those elusive qualities that in a human to human relationship drive a much deeper emotional relationship.

Filling the world with Lovemarks

Kevin Roberts, Executive Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, previously CEO worldwide for 17 years, created the Lovemarks idea his book, Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands. The book is a seminal piece of  business thinking and Kevin hoped that, by giving everybody at Saatchi & Saatchi a copy of the book when it first published, all 5000 Saatchi practitioners would go forth and fill the world with Lovemarks. After three years running Saatchi & Saatchi EMEA for Kevin, I concluded that our people needed more than a book, so Kevin Roberts appointed me to a staff role to drive take-up of Lovemarks thinking across our Network. The work I’ve been leading for the last eight years has been to create the process, embed the practises, run the learning and development programmes and instigate signature experiences to actually deliver on the promise of filling our clients’ worlds with Lovemarks. The work our global Strategy team does is designed to inspire and energise our people to adopt the kind of inspirational idea that Roberts wrote about and to use it to help our for clients transform their businesses.

The breakthrough in driving take-up of the proprietary process and practices was the invitation to clients actively to participate in our proprietary , immersive programme 2 day L&D programme we call the Lovemarks Academy. We only really began to get sustainable change within our own business  when we brought our clients in and said, ‘this is how we work, we want you to know intimately the process we pursue to develop ideas on your behalf, and we want you collaborating with us on the same platform.’ In bringing them into our process, we cemented far stronger relationships between our clients and our local agencies.

Love on the inside

The concept of Lovemarks is not just relevant to external marketing, it works right across the business. We worked recently with the Global Assurance leadership team of PwC, one of the Big Four professional services networks. 

Most auditors, asked that common dinner party conversation question, ‘what do you do for a living?’ typically engage in a little bit of shoe shuffling. Their perception of themselves is nothing like as positive as it should – and deserves- to be. Because, when you think of the real benefit auditors provide and the confidence they deliver to the capital markets, they fulfil a very important role. 
Using the power of emotion, we co-created a Purpose with PwC Assurance’s leaders about building a movement of trust in business and beyond. The Purpose provides those doing the daily work of auditors something to which they can aspire, something to feel good about. The idea of providing confidence at the fingertips of their clients is already building a greater sense of self-esteem and self-worth.

The Purpose was not marketed externally but, as a result of the work we did with them and the efforts their leaders have made to live the new Purpose, the vast majority of people within the 80,000 Assurance network in PwC are intimately familiar with it.

No love please, we’re British

One of the interesting aspects of Lovemarks is the variation in the local embrace of the concept. Working in Latin America, China, India – everyone fell in love with the idea immediately. It plays to the heart, there was no inhibition or awkwardness about the use of love to build better business. They adore it; you go to their offices and there are hearts all over the place, it’s beautiful.

You go to North America or to our spiritual home in London and there is a coyness about the use of the actual word, Lovemarks. In these markets, we see a far greater desire to interpret Lovemarks in a way that the talent that works finds more natural to them. So if you walk the corridors of 80 Charlotte Street, the iconic headquarters of Saatchi and Saatchi close to London Business School, you will hear more the phrase ‘Loyalty Beyond Reason’  the commercial idea that underpins to Lovemarks than Lovemarks itself because, let’s face it, we know how squeamish the Brits are about the ‘Love’  word!
But the fundamental idea of Lovemarks and, importantly, the thinking and practices that fuel them, have travelled everywhere.

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