Much has been written lately about empathy in brand planning. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Empathy makes us humans. Or good humans, at least. Without empathy we’re disorganized personalities. The fact that we need to write about dialing up empathy in brand planning suggests there may be a problem somewhere. But I’d like to take, actually, take empathy to the next level. And that is love. Not “It’s what makes Subaru a Subaru love,” for I don’t really know what that brand claim means – and I’m an owner.
When working on a brand strategy I tell clients that I need to fall in love with their brand. Sounds corny, but it’s true. I work past any and all negatives and search for things to love. It’s only when I find the good in a brand, be they superlatives, great-to-haves, or other endearing qualities, that I can begin to develop an attraction. And then I work to expand that attraction to a kind of love.
That’s how I work. It’s not how consumer’s work. In fact, many consumers are more glass half empty, so it is up to the brand planner to position a product or service in a way that fills that half empty glass. So we must search for positivity.
If you can’t find a way to love the brand for which you are planning, either don’t take the job or explain to your client what impedes your love and give them their money back.