Kevin Roberts is the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi global marketing and I was gifted/ asked to read his book as a welcome/guide to my new job in tourism marketing. The basic thesis is that marketing needs to move beyond ‘trusted brands’ to ‘loved brands’, or ‘lovemarks’, that inspire feelings and an emotional bond in the consumer/audience. To get to this lovemark space, a company needs to build off of the earlier pillars that let brands become trusted (consistent, quality product) with somewhat amorphous additional pillars like ‘mystery’ and ‘emotion’. To illustrate his point, he draws on examples of companies that have unwavering bands of loyal customers- they have become ‘lovemarks- such as Oil of Olay, Apple, CocaCola.
From a content perspective, I understand the concept but I’m having real trouble buying in. I’m not sure if its because I’m a millennial and I’ve been subjected to more targeted advertising than prior generations, or if I’m just inherently skeptical of marketing and company loyalty, but I’m not sure I buy the idea that any company/product can generate broadscale unwavering customer loyalty. I loved my Volkswagon Jetta unconditionally, and that particular car felt like an identity while I drove it, but the Volkswagon emissions scandal reminded me that a company is just a company, and my next car was based not on company loyalty but blue book value (end result: a Honda). I used and loved a Nivea facecream for over a decade, until this year when an article told me it contained phthalates. Zara uses Uyghur-grown cotton and forced labour, Nestle has a legacy of sketchy practices in developing countries, Kellogg doesn’t believe in paying a living wage, etc., etc.
From a physical book perspective, I wasn’t quite sure what niche Roberts’ intended this book to fall into. It seems to straddle a gap between coffee table book (but slightly too small and with art that draws too heavily from clip art) and an ‘Intro to marketing’ college class text (with too many pictures and not enough meaningful material). I also think that the design/style here hasn’t aged particularly well- the front cover looks sharp but the clip art feel to the rest of the book and the mash up different fonts and type sizes lacked the slick design feel I expect from a marketing text. To Roberts’ credit, this book was published back in 2005, so I think this may have felt fresher then.