Posts Tagged ‘lovemarks’

The Mystery in Love/Lovemarks

November 19, 2007

One of the 3 elements of a lovemark in theory is “mystery”. Dreams, symbols, metaphors, stories. Yep, I love stories etc. but let’s be serious about how it applies to the college marketing challenge.

Think about love for a minute. Does love revolve around mystery, or does true love grow with knowledge and emerging reality?

Blaise Pascal said “the heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.” So on one level there are mysteries involved in any decision of the heart. But Pascal also wisely said:

“Those who are accustomed to judge by feeling, do not understand the process of reasoning, for they would understand at first sight and are not used to seek for principles. And others, on the contrary, who are accustomed to reason from principles, do not at all understand matters of feeling, seeking principles and being unable to see at a glance.”

Sounds like love to me. Love at first sight is based on feelings, and when the mystery dimension is high the love feelings can feel strong. But as the relationship evolves, the mysteries are replaced with realities that often strain the relationship.

Which is why Madeleine de Scudery wrote: “Men should keep their eyes wide open before marriage, and half shut afterward.”

How do 17-year-olds judge what college to go to? I think … I feel 🙂 … that feeling trumps reasoning for kids. How about their parents? I think that parents are more focused on the reasons.*

Yes, the reasons can be feelings. “The feeling of the campus”. “The friendliness of the people.” “Such school spirit.” But effective marketing involves being reasonable and analytical about those intangibles, and learning to maximize them.

What’s the best way to communicate those mysterious feelings? Clearly, through personality and feelings that show in a person’s eyes or tone of voice. Personal contact is supreme… but surely the creative and lively arts of music and cinema ought to be able to get those feelings across well too… right?

*If there’s any useful research on this I haven’t found it yet. Here’s one survey that doesn’t seem to shed much insight for me.

Lovemarks are for alumni

November 1, 2007

Here’s my take on how to apply lovemarks theory to college admissions or advancement. The X and Y axes increase in value as you go up and to the right. ORK’s Lovemarks diagramIf a college does promotions, creates buzz, projects hipness, starts fads, engages in window-dressing, etc., the students who respond will be showing love in the Saatchi sense: commitment without logical basis.

On the other hand, if the college emphasizes reasons, traditions, points of distinction… all the logical basis for selecting one school over another, and staking its brand claims on particular areas of excellence … then it would be building respect, or brand identity, in its prospects. In admissions marketing, the reality is that both approaches are probably necessary. Some students decide on the basis of a feeling, and some make spreadsheets and weigh the facts. Each college knows what it wants to hang its hat on — the traditions and values and facts, or the post-modernistic ethos that resonates with a certain mind-set. Using the principle of different strokes for different folks, build respect for your distinctives and traditions, while at the same time fostering buzz, Facebook networks, emotional tie-ins to various interest groups.

For alumni, the reality of your school experience is your ticket to a lovemark. In four years, a lovemark can develop. Every graduate who feels they got their money’s worth, they came of age, they met the love of their life, they were challenged beyond measure, or made life-long friends … will graduate with a loyalty that goes well beyond reason, and can guarantee the stability of the institution for years to come.

Lovemarks and College branding

November 1, 2007

Kevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi has championed the idea of lovemarks as the ultimate level of brand loyalty. Think Apple or Harley-Davidson. His definition is “Loyalty beyond Reason.” With a brand, there is high respect. With a fad, there is high love but low respect. With a lovemark, there is high respect AND high love.

To Roberts, love here means three things: mystery, sensuality, and intimacy… sounds like eros, and Madison Avenue certainly knows how to incorporate sex if they can. But mystery is the word Saatchi likes to use to describe the stories, metaphors, and symbolism of the brand. It adds complexity and compelling drama to the personality of the brand.

Sensuality refers to the multiple ways the brand communicates with its target. And intimacy describes each customer’s amount of empathy or passion or commitment to the brand.

And here is where I think lovemarks and colleges naturally collide: because the bottom line for a lovemark as defined by its inventors is this:

“Take a brand away and people will find a replacement. Take a lovemark away and people will protest its absence.”

I don’t think very many colleges can expect incoming students to reach that kind of loyalty or commitment during the admissions process. The fact is students have lots of choices and they’ll matriculate wherever they feel drawn at the moment.

I’d suggest that colleges really do develop a lovemark with their students over the course of four years. Most alumni WOULD protest if their alma-mater were taken away. Once they’ve invested their lives there, they have loyalty beyond reason. Which of course is the leverage that makes fundraising possible.

For admissions marketing, I think the reality is more reserved. Except for perhaps full-pay legacy students, a college will not often be able to be a true lovemark for its prospectives.