Finding the perfect match is almost a job in itself. People are complex - filled with certain preferences and different ways to communicate.
The marketing profession revolves around relationships. Marketers need to foster relationships between the brand they represent and their target market in order to receive any long-term success. “Love” may be a strong word in this case, but being present while showing empathy and understanding resonates with consumers.
Gary Chapman, author of the book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, simplified the definition of love by observing people and narrowing how people express and receive love into five categories: Receiving Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, and Quality Time.
These tactics do not just apply to romantic partnerships or an emotional love. Knowing how a person wants to be acknowledged or shown affection in a friendship, mentorship, or even a business relationship eases tension and builds a stronger foundation.
Marketers can leverage the concepts outlined in The Five Love Languages to increase engagement and brand loyalty in their target audience:
Recognize the consumer for their loyalty by providing rewards programs, discounts, and coupons. These offerings give the customer a great deal, plus a reason to tell friends. They will also come back over time to develop a long-term relationship with the brand. Word of mouth and referrals are still the most powerful advertising tool in business.
Sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways increase brand interaction as well as give back to the consumer. Participants can win a prize for engaging with the brand by creating content - which is empowering for the consumer and free marketing for the brand! Not to mention, the brand gains endless data and insights about the target audience from contestants’ submission information. Data-driven marketing campaigns and social media outreach may ensue from the information collected.
Words of Affirmation
Affirm consumers for choosing the brand and engaging with the brand’s content by highlighting user-generated content and acknowledging them. Use data to get to know their personas to inform marketing campaigns and retargeting personalized ads. Brands that have an uplifting message that inspires the consumer to achieve goals they could only imagine do well and create a loyal following. Take Nike, for example and their “Just Do It” slogan. Their product makes the ordinary consumer feel like they can accomplish the extraordinary.
Use this positive mindset with employees at the office. Give them a reason to be excited about working and campaigning for the brand by encouraging their efforts and work.
This love language applies to marketing by way of creating a physical experience in the consumer’s day-to-day. The gesture can be as small as having an advertisement on a bus or billboard to having experiential marketing events - such as the Home Depot tool race during Braves games or the Coca-Cola museum that brings the product and the history to life through an enjoyable experience.
Sponsoring events like marathons, concerts, or sporting events shows that the brand cares about the consumer’s interests and wants to be a part of their experience. Also creating physical/experiential executions can satisfy the consumer’s need for physical touch.
Acts of Service
The benefits of corporate social responsibility extend beyond the communities on the receiving end - it helps strengthen the brand’s reputation as well. Consumers care about a company that cares about the world around them. Brands need to give back to the communities and people by holding company-wide charity events,sponsoring philanthropy projects, or even volunteering locally.
Socially or environmentally conscious business practices can also fall into this category. The shoe company TOMS is a classic example of a company that tries to give back by providing shoes, clean water, and eyewear to people in need. Read about other companies making a difference here.
Quality time translates into marketing through quality customer support. Take the time to offer excellent customer service by engaging with the target audience’s questions or concerns via social channels. This strengthens the relationship between the brand and the customer. The more energy a brand puts into “quality time”, the more brand loyalty is returned. Therefore, it’s important to listen, follow-up, and take the time to solve issues about product quality and complaints!
Providing quality time is also ensuring the consumer’s time is valued. The brand’s product or service should make the consumer more efficient. Blue Apron makes dinner easy for families who just want to cook and go. The meals are tasty, healthy, and prepared so that the time used for meal purchasing/prepping can be used elsewhere!
Adding the marketer’s version of The Five Love Languages to your marketing plan will capture the customers’ undivided attention. Your relationship with your audience is of utmost importance - foster it, nurture it, and show the consumers you care. Little did Gary Chapman know...when he set out to strengthen relationships between couples, he inadvertently helped marketers strengthen relationships with their customers.