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Your Past. Your Present. Your Future.

Meeting an old friend is like looking into your past, reminding you of what you love and how you got to where you are. Tweetable.

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When I tweeted this I did not expect the number of positive emotions to come from this sentiment. I began to think deeper about how I felt that night. There are a few friends that some people have that you may not see or talk to in years. However, when you get together, you are transported back to a time that is very different from now. You are yourself, but an outdated model if you will. When I met this friend I was back at the Motorola Razr version of myself – before the Blackberry and multiple versions of iPhones.

Thinking about it in terms of phone upgrades made me think how far I have upgraded myself. My mindset was of a more limited functionality. In a world where everything is so fast-paced and changing rapidly it reminded me that I am achieving my goals. My past has shaped my present and my present is shaping my future. My goal of continual education is paying off.

My present is right here, right now. I am focused. I am focused on learning as much as possible about everything I come in contact with. I am focused on my family. I am focused on my job. I am focused on being my best possible self. For years I have stood firm with this mindset. To see a prior version of myself made me understand that even though my general goals and values have remained the same it has propelled me to new heights.

Do you have a friend like this or have had a similar experience recently? If so, share it with me below. I want to hear about it.

In my tweet I used the word love. I love life. I love my wife, family and friends. I love nostalgia. I love ice cream before dinner. I love to laugh. I love to play complex jazz music at obnoxiously loud levels next to the guy who’s speakers are thumping with hip hop loud enough to rattle the tires clear off your car while stopped at a red light. Sorry for the run-on sentence. But seriously, I love the little things. The thing I discovered was that while my mindset had been upgraded, my love had remained the same. Sure love may evolve, but the specific things that are true to your heart always remain the same.

In business, sometimes brands lose site of what they love and/or what their audience loves. They lose their focus on divert from the plan. Personally I have been down on myself that maybe I am not growing as fast as I should be. Looking back those 5-6 years changed my mind. Look back into the last 5-6 years of your brand. Is your underlying love and focus still there?

Action item: A mentor of mine once told me this and I think it may help you better understand my point. Put your goals, your hopes, your wants and anything else on a piece of paper. Have your spouse do it with you for fun. Tuck the pieces of paper in a jar and stash it away. In five years, open it. You may want to put an expiration date on it or open it on a special day like an anniversary or new years day. When you finally open it you will be amazed at how far you have come.

Dr. Ahuvia and the Brand Love Phenomenon

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aaronahuviaWhat brands or products do you absolutely love that you cannot live without? Most of the time consumers flock towards things like smartphones, iPods, and the like. Last week the American Marketing Association, Detroit chapter, put on an event entitled ‘Brand Love’ with Aaron Ahuvia, Ph.D. at Schoolcraft College. Dr. Ahuvia is the foremost authority on this topic as he was the first researcher published in this area over twenty years ago.

Ahuvia’s explanation of brand love starts with human evolution. “Humans adapt old capacities to new situations,” Ahuvia said. He went on to say, “Love is powerful.” A perfect way of exhibiting this is through anthropomorphism; this is when people take something that is not human and give it human qualities. An example of this is shown in a video of an iCat robot named Daisy. Studies showed that humans had a very difficult time shutting down the robot. Those studied began to develop an affinity for the robot, and when asked to shut it down, Daisy began asking the person not to. See the video here.

Another way this is exhibited is through the saying we heard so many times in our school days: “If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?” One woman, Erika La Tour Eiffel, did just that. She married the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Ahuvia found that most people actually do love things other than people. The most common things were nature and engaging activities, but closely behind were products and brands. Take a look at Brand Love Central to see the model he developed from this and other studies. Further research by Ahuvia showed that Brand Love helps create sustainable growth and stability in the marketplace.

Is there a formula for success, a love potion of sorts, for brands? Why yes, there is. In fact, there are four key characteristics of brand love, as follows:

  1. Quality and Trust: A brand must start by making sure its products or services maintain quality. Once quality is achieved, trust will need to be maintained. High standards for quality and trust must be present to foster brand love.
  2. Intrinsic Rewards: “Do you love the product or are you just using it?” asks Ahuvia. There is a difference. Certain products people love, while other times people just love the outcome. Ahuvia explained this to the group through tools. Some people use tools because they love fixing motorcycles, for example, while others find love in not only the fixing of the motorcycles but also in the way the tool works, is designed, and functions.
  3. Part of Myself: In this characteristic, Ahuvia explains a term he developed called ‘Looking Glass Love.’ This is a love where we see our own reflection in things that we love other than people. Apple exploited this type of love perfectly in their Mac v. PC television advertisements. The target market was that of a younger generation of people who saw themselves as the Justin Long type compared to the stodgy PC type. This section of brand love brings the deeper connections of love forward.
  4. Part of My Life: “Absence makes the heart grow indifferent,” says Ahuvia. The longer a consumer does not use a product or service, the easier it is to go on without it. To continue to nurture the love, the brand must be a part of the person’s life.

Brand love speaks more for products than it does services. It is most relevant for categories that provide many benefits, have a pleasure aspect, and relate to identity. How will you foster brand love in your business?

Read the original article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=17185