Like vs. Love

One of my clients owns a restaurant and two quick-serve food outlets.  Part of the branding and marketing effort is keeping in front of people who “Like” the company’s Facebook pages with weekly (or more frequent) updates about menu changes, special events, news, holidays, etc.

When we post an update, invariably some people will “Like” it by clicking the “thumb up” symbol.  This takes very little effort, but is a nice gesture.  Then there are people who take time to write a positive comment.  I think of these people as those who “Love” the restaurant.

Both likes and comments are important because the update gets exposure to the person’s Facebook friends.  For example, one of the restaurant’s more popular posts reached a total of 860 people: 375 who saw it because they like the restaurant’s page and 505 who saw it “virally” because of the 37 people who liked, shared or commented on the post.  So in this case more than half of those who saw the post came from “virality”.  BTW, the “virality” percent of 4.42% for this post (people who liked, shared or commented on a post divided by the total reach) is considered quite good.  One study I saw put the average “virality” for Facebook posts at 1.38%.

When one of my Facebook friends likes or comments on a post, I get a notice in my newsfeed. I tend to pay more attention to my friends who comment on a post vs. those who like a post.  It tells me they thought it was worth commenting on so I am more interested in reading their comments and the original post.  So for me Likes are just likes, but I think of those who comment positively as those who love the page or posting.

This is all pretty basic Facebook stuff, but it is a microcosm of a company’s brand.  Those who like your brand probably don’t feel a very strong attachment to it.  They are o.k. with it, but they may be just as happy with some of your competitors.  Those who love your brand have a strong loyalty.  They not only prefer your brand over competitors, but they are likely to tell their friends that they love your brand and recommend your brand to others.

But how do you build “love” for your brand?  The first step is to love your customers.  In the case of the restaurant, the owner takes time to visit tables and greet guests.  Over the five years he has been in business, he has built friendships with customers, which in turn has built loyalty.  Also, in businesses with low staff turnover, employees get to know customers and vice versa.  Are you more likely to visit a business where you are greeted by name and the person serving you knows your preferences or one where it is a different face every time you visit?

You can also give your loyal customers something special.  A local restaurant we visit and where we sometimes order take-out will often include a dessert in our take-out bag, even though we didn’t order it.  I’m not sure if they do this for everyone, but it does make us feel like an important customer.  Lots of businesses have loyalty programs that build repeat business, but the element of surprise is just as welcome.  At our local supermarket the manager would occasionally appear with a cookie for my son and he knew my son’s name.  We might like other supermarkets, but touches like this make us love this supermarket.  One last example: Our dry cleaner gives loyal customers a bottle of wine at the holidays.

As with love between people, loving a brand is an emotional relationship.  It entails making the customer feel special, that he or she is the only person in the world that matters.  When you achieve this, the customer will think your company is the only brand in your category that matters.  That is true brand love.


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