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Lovemarks and the Church

15 May, 2004 5:34 PM

Today I came across a book called Lovemarks. It�s a book that is hard to miss really � bright red, hard back cover, simple yet elegant design.

Its title intrigued me a little �Lovemarks � the future beyond brands�.

As someone who has been interested in marketing for many years I picked up the book, found a comfortable corner of the bookshop and began to read.

The book is a pleasure to read � fresh and visually stimulating with some quality content. The main point of the book is that Brands are dead (or are dying) and that there is a need for a fresh approach in promoting one�s products.

The author (Kevin Roberts) decided to do some research on the question � �what makes some brands inspirational, while others struggle?�

The answer is �Lovemarks�. Let me explain using words from the book...

Lovemarks transcend brands. They deliver beyond your expectations of great performance. Like great brands, they sit on top of high levels of respect - but there the similarities end. Lovemarks reach your heart as well as your mind, creating an intimate, emotional connection that you just can�t live without. Ever.

Take a brand away and people will find a replacement. Take a Lovemark away and people will protest its absence. Lovemarks are a relationship, not a mere transaction. You don�t just buy Lovemarks, you embrace them passionately. That�s why you never want to let go.�

So what is a Lovemark and how does one attain that status?

Respect - Respect is the starting point � without it you�ve got little chance of getting anyone to coming back to your product beyond a first try.

Mixed with Respect the book talks about three ingredients that these inspiring Lovemark brands have:

1. Mystery � when you know everything there is nothing left to discover. �No more surprises, no more wonder, no more opportunities. In a world suffering from information overload, the most powerful attention-grabbers are the things you don�t know.... A Lovemark has great stories and draws together past, present and future. It taps into dreams. Brings back deep meaning in myths and icons.' Create some mystery and you give people a reason to come back for more.

2. Sensuality � The senses evoke strong emotions in us. Its amazing how just a simple smell can transport us to another place or the look that someone gives us can impact our mood so dramatically.

�Emotional connections are at the very heart of a Lovemark. So it makes sense that the crucial elements of design, scent, texture and flavour � things that appeal directly to the senses � will influence your response over and above the more �rational� product arguments.�

3. Intimacy � without this you are not able to truly touch and inspire on a deep and lasting level. Lovemarks show commitment, empathy and passion.

The book makes a lot of sense and evokes a number of thoughts in me. One is that these Lovemark elements remind me a lot of the person of Jesus - Respect, Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy all feature heavily in his approach.

Another train of thought I've been having is the parallels between Lovemarks and some of the lessons many of us have been learning through our exploration of the Emerging Church and Alternative Worship movement.

The themes of Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy are ingredients that many of us have been experimenting with over the years in our desire to make church a more relevant and embracing place for those living around us. They are elements that I suspect the church on a whole will need to grapple more with in the years ahead also.

The element of the �Lovemark� approach that I suspect that we struggle with the most (and therefore need to work on the most) as �The Church� here in Australia is that of �Respect�. In my daily interactions with fellow Aussies I�m constantly reminded of the suspicion and mistrust that so many feel towards the Church. The reasons for this disrespect are many and complex � much damage has been done over the decades and centuries that proceed our time.

If the �Lovemarks� approach is a way forward for us then alarm bells should be ringing in our ears by now. We can work on creating Intimate, Sensory, Mystical spaces and worship experiences for as long as we like, but without Respect we�re wasting our time and energy.

Our discussion as Emerging Church practitioners needs to not only focus upon the themes of Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy but also that of Respect. How do we rebuild respect? How is respect built in a time when institutions are so often seen with suspicion and mistrust? Is respect earned on a personal one on one basis or are there ways it can be earned on a larger scale?

Much of the information above on Lovemarks was gleaned from the Lovemark Website. For more detailed information get your hands on the book itself. You might also like to read an address author Kevin Roberts gave on the topic.



Darren, I sent a trackback but don't see it anywhere, so I'm resorting to a comment... See my post.

Jon Reid » 18 May, 2004 9:54 AM

Is FCUK a lovemark or a sexmark?

Making love has its own terminology. Should it be used to name any brands?

Let's have a look at some examples in the history of branding. When Mitsubishi launched a new car with the name "Pajero" on the Spanish market, it became obvious very soon that the name chosen was not optimal because it immediately was the subject of jokes due to its homophony with a Spanish expression related to masturbation.

The same happened to Ford's model "Pinto"(Portuguese for male genital) in Brazil where it was quickly renamed into "Corcel"(horse).

There is quite a long list of product names that give food to the dirty mind be they chosen accidentally or deliberately. Obviously there seems to be a kind of tradition for this in the history of naming which originally started with place names.

Some of our ancestors obviously were too innocent to realize what burden they place on their offspring when naming places like Pratts Bottom (Kent), Brown Willy (Cornwall), Lickey End (near Birmingham), Booby Dingle (Powys), Great Cockup (Cumbria), Even places such as Thong (Kent) seem to have revealed far too much for not being the victim of lewd remarks.

The European continent, however, is also challenging the innocent mind of the English speaking traveller. In Southern Bavaria they will come across a village with the name of “Petting�? and about eleven miles from there, in neighbouring Upper Austria, the shock might be inevitable when they enter the village of "Fucking". Inspite of the fact that the inhabitants of Fucking have had enough with English-speaking tourists swiping their sign, they refuse to change their name. It goes back to the ancient Bavarian settlement and although this area was christianized by Irish and Scottish monks in the 9th and 10th century, an amendment of the name has never been deemed necessary.

No wonder that in many countries there are restrictions regarding the choice of a place name as a trademark for goods and services. One way around these restrictions is to distort the name so that it becomes indisputable but on a subliminal level takes advantage of the fact that sex sells.

A recent example of successful distortion are the products of a British based fashion retailer called French Connection Group plc with the trademark FCUK.

Linguists tell us that the power of a word depends on its context, and clearly the English word "fcuk" falls into that category. To make it even more explicit, two new fragrances were launched named "FCUK Him" and "FCUK Her".

On its website FCUK demonstrates a clear picture of its marketing strategy. Whereas the linguistic allusions are close to Shakespeare's bawdiness, the images remain subdued and innocent, which on the one hand is rather cynical but on the other hand tries to bridge the generation gap because most parents finance the quite conventional fashion attire that their children obtain from FCUK. Thus FCUK's clients in each major market display a range of attitudes when confronted with the provocatively distorted four-letter mark.

The American Family Association (AFA) promotes initiatives against FCUK such as prefabricated emails protesting against the exploitation of youngsters in such a manner. Sex in marketing is bound to raise demand along with a few eyebrows which in addition either secure the necessary publicity or ban the product from the market. Branding an almost swear word in order to create a cash cow is, however, not restricted to fashion clothing and related products.

On a recent visit to New Orleans I was surprised by the abundance of labels for their traditional hot pepper sauces. Besides the well known Tabasco, there are more spicy brand names such as "Burning rectum" or "Hot shit". It shows that name design must be ready to apply wit to anything that makes the blood boil and the label sell.

Obviously this does not really work in all economic fields; certainly not in tourism because the places mentioned above are not among the hot spots that travel agents propagate in their catalogues.

Namedesigner » 25 June, 2004 6:45 AM

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