"When I first suggested that Love was the way to transform business, grown CEOs blushed and slid down behind their annual accounts. But I kept at them. I knew it was Love that was missing. I knew that Love was the only way to ante up the emotional temperature and create the new kinds of relationships brands needed."
- Kevin Roberts, Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands
Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, is married to the idea that love brings brands to life. By Love, he isn't referring to a sentence-filler that indicates preference, such as, "I love my i-Pod," or "I love my Sketchers." Rather, he means Love as something more like, "I love my daughter." That's the type of relationship he's interested in building between a customer and a product. (Read more about Lovemarks here.)
No doubt there are products you wouldn't do without. I started using pocket-sized Moleskine journals and day-timers a few years ago and wonder how I could ever switch back. In a sense, I'm committed to this brand and I love it in the same way I love my 17 year old Toyota RN.
But more importantly, I am awed by love, like when it forgives Jean Valjean in Les Miserables for stealing silver and then gives him a valuable gift. This love changes Valjean's life. Or when love awakens and pushes a stubborn man to initiate counseling for his dying marriage. Or when a professor enters her classroom for four decades, each morning recommitting her vocation to the service of the Kingdom of God and dedicating every insight and intellectual effort to the growth of her students.
Love is profoundly transformational, and not to be seen as an additive to the perishable items we consume.
Interestingly, Roberts does refer to love as transformational. He isn't interested in using love merely as a reference to liking something. But while he wants the depth and breadth of love, he employs it only as a helper in moving peoples' hearts toward falling in love with Stuff.
Whether it's natural for humans to develop emotional connections with certain products or not, this manipulative approach to love makes me feel queasy.