Friday, 8 October 2004 - Naples, Florida USA

Irresistible Loyalty

Presentation Summary

An address to the Association of National Advertisers’ Annual Conference in Naples, Florida. People don’t park their emotions outside the marketplace. They put them in the driver’s seat. An exploration of the power of ideas. A challenge to inspire amazing actions and inclusive outcomes. A call to producers and retailers, researchers and marketers to move beyond brands to Lovemarks.

Thirty years working on the client-side at Gillette, Pepsi and P&G has its advantages. You understand what counts. You know what adds up. And you certainly know how to position a piece of research to your advantage!!!

This morning I’m going to shift context and I hope, perception. “Building successful brands” has become an oxymoron. It is a survival strategy. A strategy of incremental inches. Not a winning strategy.

Brands are a 20th century idea for 20th century conditions. Respect and trust remain critical. But they will no longer guarantee sustainable success. Life is too fast, too connected, too demanding, too fragile and too cheap.

Moving from brands to Lovemarks is the challenge all marketing people face.

Last century evolved from products, to trademarks to brands. At their zenith, brands pumped economies around the world.

It couldn’t last. The serial killer of brands was commodification – dissolving distinctions and intensifying competition. In sync we’ve seen a massive power surge from manufacturers in the 80s through retailers in the 90s and finally to, thank heavens, consumers everywhere.

Today’s power brokers are the people who love a brand, its Inspirational Consumers. The ones who hyper-actively defend, promote and connect as well as hold the brand accountable to creating a better world.

Inspirational Consumers want a piece of the making, marketing and media action. And they can’t stop themselves spreading inspirational news.

Why were Toyota Prius fans printing their own promotional leaflet for the car? Because people were stopping them on the street to find out more.

Inspirational Consumers will lead business into the future. They will direct and correct the design, manufacturing, marketing and distribution process. Because their proud of their choice.

The view today from the consumers’ window is wallpaper. The snacks are crisp, cars start first time and beer is always ice-cold.

And behind this Truman Show of perfection something is amiss. Terror is traveling. Hurricanes are blowing. Life is being cut short – abroad, and in our back yard. Today people die younger in Harlem than in Bangladesh.

Incremental measures won’t answer. As marketers, we have to look at human life in its entirety, the things people hope for and dream about, the things they hate and fear. Above all, the things they love.

Lovemarks develops a fundamental premise: People don’t park their emotions outside the marketplace. They put them in the driver’s seat.

Science confirms we decide with our hearts, not our heads. An emotional response to something new in the market takes about three seconds – that’s 3000 times faster than a rational response. As Carnegie Mellon behavioral economists put it: “cognition is a smart pony, and emotion a big elephant.

Well the elephants are moving. Consumers have better sight, less time, more choices, greater expectations, deeper convictions, digital veto – and they can time travel, or vanish.

One moment of falseness, a second of indifference and they’ll turn off. And they’ll tell all their friends when they do.

Emotion, not reason, generates value. Brain scientist Donald Calne sums up: “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action, while reason leads to conclusions.” More emotion, more action.

The Love / Respect Axis which we use to plot emotional heat and rational cool, comes recommended by Einstein, who said “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”


Start with Low Respect , Low Love. Standard commodities. Rubbish collection. Public Utilities. And yes, US airlines. Essential. Zero brand heat.

Low Respect, High Love. The Fad zone. Hero today. Zero tomorrow. Shaved heads, pink handbags, photo stickers, the South Beach Diet, Martha.

High Respect and Low Love. This is where most major brands are stuck. Great product, solid service, effective distribution. And all fixed on the “e-r” words. Brighter, stronger, faster… cheaper. All table-stakes.

High Respect, High Love. Seductive attitude, irresistible appeal. Sizzling ideas. Lovemarks.

  • Lovemarks bring new simplicity, new language, new tools, new measures and new realism.
  • Lovemarks are built on Respect and Love.
  • Lovemarks inspire loyalty beyond reason.
  • Lovemarks are owned by the people who love and use them, consumers not companies.
  • Lovemarks turn irreplaceable into irresistible.
  • Lovemarks provide a return on involvement

How do you I.D. a Lovemark? You don’t. You feel it. You go on a journey and you never let the feeling go. Take a brand away and people find a replacement. Take a Lovemark away and people protest.

Harley Davidson, definitely. Suzuki is still in pursuit.
Apple iPod is a Lovemark. Sony is tracking.
Bush and Kerry? You tell me!!! A mystery.

The take-out? Feel with your heart, and ignore the voices in your head.

Brand building is facing its Hurricane Ivan. Recent profit warnings and marketing spend-up signals from the likes of Unilever and Colgate are a storm warning. It isn’t just hot competition. Consumers are showing brands the door.

The pistons of value are shifting. Immersed in brands, consumers are looking beyond the finites of price and quality. They want something infinite, something wild and true.

They want to feel truly, madly, deeply loved. And they want to share that world-changing feeling.

The sun is setting on the corporate day. Enterprising, families that share – the currents of human meaning – will win the future. Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy.

Mystery to draw together stories, metaphors, dreams and symbols. The Toyota Prius runs on secrets and has four months back orders to cry for. If we know everything there is nothing to surprise and delight us.

Sensuality Sight, hearing, scent, touch, taste. Just 5% of human thought is fully conscious. Marketers have only brushed the sensory canvas. Mainstreaming of design and the aesthetic will be huge.

Hybrids will explode boundaries. Details like click wheels will build dynasties.

Simple details… Like yellow is the first color the eye processes. Like a duck’s quack doesn’t echo, and no one knows why!!

Intimacy. Knowing the consumer better than she knows herself. Empathy, commitment and passion. The small touch, the perfect gesture. The intimate connections that win undying loyalty.

I’m not big on Marshall McLuhan. It is the message, the big idea that moves and shapes us. Without brilliant content, today’s important debates around context and contact might as well go fishing.

Whether you deliver your message in a wheelbarrow or in a Rolls Royce, on TV or on-line, this isn’t the issue.

The market for small, mind-numbing ideas has closed!! In the media-on-demand playground, elusive consumers will only follow the ideas with stopping power, with talking power, with provocation, with the explosive power of emotion.

Think Apple’s famous 1984 ad. It still aftershocks.

The big idea is the driver. The right media is the connector.

The earlier the goose and the egg get together, the bigger the omelet. Two questions matter. Do I want to experience it again? Do I need to tell everyone?

The new marketing model stretches onscreen, online and in-store. The ubiquity of the screen is seismic. We live in the Age of “Screenery”.

Cell phones, PDAs, PCs, Internet, TV and all the rest work together, not in opposition. Think of them as weaving an emotional blanket, not as cannibalizing market share.

In this Age of Also, the most powerful, potent form of communication is Sight, Sound and Motion. A story told through SISOMO is the best way to stimulate a multi-dimensional, emotional response.

The pulsing, lit-up, fascinating, screen – from TV to PC – is the ultimate medium for creating and perpetuating Lovemarks.

Always start with the equity. Create an inspired big idea. Find a responsive context. Drip the idea with mystery, sensuality and intimacy. Explode it with sight, sound and motion. Give over to Inspirational Consumers.

In the micro-scoping market, the critical mass is the Store. The opportunity in shopper marketing sidelines the broadcast model debate. We all know that around 80% of purchase decisions and 50% of brand switching occurs in store.

The Store is an emotional vacuum inside a financial wasteland. In-store radio, lighting and air con should be done for assault. It’s ripe for Extreme Make Over. The opportunity for Lovemarks is gargantuan.

Consumers deserve better than a 20-minute dash through hell. They’ll come looking for better.

We created Saatchi & Saatchi X to bring Lovemarks in store.
To pull the big creative idea on the screen into the cart, down the corridor and through the entire shopping experience.

This is about activating the drama behind the Screen at the moment of truth. It’s about using mystery, sensuality and intimacy to create emotional theatre.

Producers and retailers, researchers and marketers, all of us are entering a brave new world. The stakes have gone through the roof. Respect will cover your brands’ essentials. It will make you decent.

Only love will compel attention. Only love will make your irreplaceable brands irresistible.

Business is the engine of human progress. We marketing masters drive that engine to market. We lead it out into the world to make a difference.

Our challenge is to connect with meaning and truth, to inspire amazing actions and inclusive outcomes. Who in this room wants to do anything less?

Success now demands nothing short of inspiration – and at its best, inspiration is about Love.

How to Win in the Age of Now


Spanning creativity, leadership and execution, Kevin Roberts’ presentation to the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Wellington Chapter is an inspirational primer in: Wanting to Win, Ways to Win Now and Ways to Keep Winning – the secrets of Peak Performance so that winning becomes a habit.

Up, Up and Away – Rotary Newmarket


Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, talks to the Newmarket Rotary Club about Winning in the Age of Now, and how to turn a brand into an irresistible Lovemark for the next generation.

Start Me Up


Kevin Roberts gives keynote speech at the 6th Annual Global Competitiveness Forum “The Entrepreneurship Imperative” held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, sharing three ways to win in the region.

Set Fire To The Rain


In this presentation to Spotlight On Lancaster at Lancaster University, Kevin Roberts talks about enabling, energizing and activating creative partnerships and achieving Vibrant, Crazy, Unreal and Astounding impact.

Brighter Than Sunshine


Presenting to AAC Saatchi & Saatchi in Bermuda, Kevin Roberts shares three key ideas on connecting people around ideas that create Loyalty Beyond Reason.

Magic Time


In this presentation to EmoDay in Amsterdam, Kevin Roberts shares five key ideas on emotional innovations and creating Lovemarks.

Just Can’t Get Enough


Presenting to the Institute of Development Professionals in Education in Oxfordshire, Kevin Roberts presents three ideas on creating Loyalty Beyond Reason and creating frameworks for development discussions.