It's not often I hear the word "love" popping into marketing and communications conversations. So when the group of senior communications executives at our digital/social media roundtable held last month started talking about love I sat up in surprise.
One panelist noted a desire from clients for "love-based" marketing campaigns, rather than "fear-based," while another cited his CEO as a fan of love talk. In other words, rather than scaring people into needing your product or service, draw out their passions. Not only that, but find a way to help them take action related to those sentiments and to continue the conversation around those feelings.
Clearly, as a country, we're exhausted and a bit shell-shocked from the tumult of the last few years. It's why so many made such a big deal out of the normally sour-faced New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin telling his players he loved them before the Super Bowl. It's also how Chipotle's feel-good ad stole the show at the Grammys and why no one is looking forward to the political mudslinging that is expected to continue into November.
Pardon the sappiness, but we all want a big hug and smart communicators will look to provide one or facilitate it, be it virtual or live. And I'm not just talking about fostering brand loyalty.
That age-old sage advice about creating an experience, not just a brand, is all the more relevant now. While value-based messaging was all the rage during the recession, consumers want more than just a coupon these days. We all know they are demanding more than ever from brands and corporations, including social responsibility, but also greater influence on the development of the product or service moving forward (see Netflix, Bank of America, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure).
This attitudinal shift fits in nicely with other emerging trends raised during the aforementioned roundtable discussion, which will appear in our April issue. Social media, for example, naturally lends itself to the rise of love-based campaigns and messaging with its retweets, circles, and likes. The idea of co-creating content with consumers and acting as a convener through events or even Facebook apps are other ways to spread the love around.
None of this is meant to suggest that we need to return to the days of sappy, PG-rated marcomms. As consumers, we're too savvy to be pandered to in that way. However, we wouldn't mind a little more sparkle, a little more cheer, a little more togetherness and do-goodness - a little more love.
Rose Gordon is senior editor - special projects of PRWeek. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.