First off, I would like to thank the wonderful Nicole from the New York office of Sweeney Vesty for FedEx me a copy of Kevin Roberts‘ “Lovemarks: the future beyond brands” for review. (For those that are new to Lovemarks, JC Penney awarded a $430 million contract based on Kevin’s Lovemark idea.) When I finish reading “Lovemarks“, I will be eagerly waiting for an advance copy of Kevin’s Lovemarks Part Two, “The Lovemarks Effect: Winning in the Consumer Revolution” for review. Thanks Nicole. (smile)
I have now finished the first 8 chapters (102 pages) of “Lovemarks: the future beyond brands” and here are my initial thoughts. And I will quote a few interesting passages that I love.
- The cover design is very pleasing to look at (currently rank 3rd on my list). In particular, “Mystery“, “Sensuality“, and “Intimacy” have been printed in tiny words (mixed in with a long list of Lovemarks like Toyota, American Express, Mickey Mouse, Mother Teresa, Post-it Notes, Yankees, etc.) using a subtile and transparent “ink” making these three words stands out only if you look at the cover from an angle and in light. This shows attention to detail, care and love. (The money man in me doesn’t really want to know how much extra this has costed for printing!) As an aside, Bruce Mau’s Life Style ranks 1st and the design book SPOON ranks 2nd on my list of book covers. The hardcover edition of Life Style has 6 (?) different colours and types of textiles to create six different covers, my copy is light blue and in a silky material that feels great with Bruce’s autograph (smile). As for SPOON , how can you not love something that is crazy and fun enough to use steel (more precisely, Promica® Pristine steel, a lightweight polymer-coated steel) as a book cover? (Note: I know it can be deadly for a glass coffee table, but my coffee table is made of wood. And I am very very careful when I read SPOON. (smile))
- The book is nicely laid out with many attractive and interesting pictures. “Lovemarks” is very refreshing and easy to read. (Note: The book was so beautiful that it took me a few days until I am comfortable enough to take out a pen and start marking it up and making notes. Making the book my book.)
- Start Me Up. (Chapter 1) The book starts with a brief but very interesting bio of Kevin and his career path, which tells a lot of who Kevin is. I particular like the part when he was President and CEO of Pepsi in Canada and what Kevin did do to a Coca-Cola vending machine at the end of his speech. Note: the vending machine was rolled on stage while Kevin was giving his speech to get maximum effect. I don’t think anyone in the room that night would ever forget how Kevin ended his speech. (see page 17)
- Time Changes Everything. (Chapter 2) Products to trademarks. A patent attorney once told Kevin that, “Patents expire, copyrights eventually run their course, but trademarks last forever.” And then Kevin proceeds to tell us that even trademarks are not exempt from change. Just look at Band-Aid, Jell-O and Vaseline. (see p25-26) And “Brands are out of juice“. (see pg 35)
- Emotional Rescue. (Chapter 3) Kevin nicely points out that, “Human beings are powered by emotion, not by reason. Study after study has proven that if the emotion centers of our brain are damaged in some way, we don’t just lose the ability to laugh or cry, we lose the ability to make decisions. Alarm bells for every business right there. The neurologist Donald Calne puts it brilliantly: “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.”” (see pg 42)
- All You Need is Love. (Chapter 4) In this chapter, Kevin lists six truths about love. And I will list the highlights here. (1) Human beings need Love. Without it they die. (2) Love means more than liking a lot. (3) Love is about responding, about delicate, intuitive sensing. (4) It is about “who and what we love”. (5) Love takes time. (6) Love cannot be commanded or demanded. It can only be given. Like power, you get Love by giving it. (page 52)
- Gimme Some Respect. (Chapter 5) Frankie Byrne said, “Respect is love in plain clothes.” Kevin gives us a long list of code of conduct to get respect which I will list the first few and the last few. (1) Perform, perform, perform, (2) Pursue innovation, (3) Commit to total commitment, (4) Make it easy, … (12) Deliver great design, (13) Don’t underestimate value, (14) Deserve trust, and (15) Never, ever fail the reliability test. (pg 60-62)
- Love is in the air. (Chapter 6) Here is a great chapter of how brands are evolved to Lovemarks that woudl create Loyalty Beyond Reason. (pg 66-72) (Kempton: Here is the original Fast Company article of Alan Webber, Founding Editor of Fast Company, interviewing Kevin in 2000.)
- Beautiful Obsession. (Chapter 7) What gives Lovemarks their special emotional resonance are “Mystery, Sensuality, and Intimacy“. Kevin listed 5 principles of Lovemark — (1) Be Passionate, (2) Involve Customers, (3) Celebrate Loyalty, (4) Find, Tell, & Retell Great Stories, (5) Accept Responsibility. (pg 74-75)
- All I have to do is dream. (Chapter 8) In this chapter, Kevin shed light on the paradox of “Mystery” by clapping his hands loudly (ala Tinkerbell style) and giving us many interesting examples that are quite inspiring to read.
By the way, the above is only my initial thoughts and I still have slightly more than half of the book to go. I hope I’ve been able to convey some of the ideas in “Lovemarks: the future beyond brands“. I think this is a great book that is very easy to read, insightful and useful.
“Lovemarks” is already my Lovemark. I think I felt in love with it when I first saw it and noticed the attention to detail (ala the tiny reflective printing). A book that pays this much attention to details can’t be too bad, can it? And my instinct was right that this is a great book. I have already put some of what I’ve learned from the book to use. Take a look of how I have revised the branding of ideas Revolution to its current presentation here and here. I have the idea of using a rich medium to give context for my brand for a long time, but thanks to YouTube, I can now execute my idea in a deep and emotional way.
Nicole, thanks again for the book. I like to also point out that my friend Nicole has done some interesting interviews for the Sisomo.com site where you can check them out the interviews here.
I will end my first review of “Lovemarks: the future beyond brands” with the music video of Cat Stevens‘ song Father & Son. I put the song there for my father. And for Kevin who has so kindly shared his ideas with us for so many years and for many years to come.
Note: Kevin said in the book that he has “given hundreds of presentations around the globe. “Father and Son” is the spot I always play at the end.” … “People feel this spot is talking to them personally. The story makes a deep emotional connection.” For me, I finally appreciate and realize that the song “Father and Son” is a dialogue between a father and son after reading the lyrics.
14 Oct, 2015 Update: The now retired Kevin Roberts‘ (CEO Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi) brand replacement idea of Lovemark remains one of my most important business insightful/understanding to this day since 2006.
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