Love – The Secret Ingredient in Place Branding

Ed BurghardIn my career I have met some amazing marketers. Among that group I include Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi. Kevin is a branding visionary. His thinking on the power of lovemarks has inspired me over the years to be a even better brand builder.

In the last three years I’ve become convinced the concept of a lovemark is a great example of a product branding principle with important reapplication potential in place branding.

A lovemark creates “loyalty beyond reason”. It establishes a strong emotional connection between a brand and a consumer. There are a number of consumer product brands that have achieved the status of lovemark. Brands that consumers identify so closely with that they cannot imagine living without them. Think of brands like Apple, Coke, Pampers, and Tide.

But, this isn’t a concept that only applies to products, places can also aspire to become lovemarks. Check out the top 50 list of places that Kevin has compiled that have lovemark status. These places have successfully created a deep and positive emotional connection that can be leveraged to increase travel and tourism revenue and/or improved competitiveness for capital investment opportunities.

In my experience, the pursuit of transforming a brand into a lovemark is where you can derive real value because it will challenge you to make better choices on how to strengthen the relevance, competitiveness and authenticity of your brand promise. Deciding to invest in making your location a lovemark will place your community, region or state on a journey that will lead to accelerated job growth and economic prosperity. The journey is not easy, but the benefit of forward progress is definitely worth the work and investment.

What would you need to do to transform your location into a lovemark? Think about it and you will have taken the first step on the path to creating loyalty beyond reason among your citizens and business leaders that will lead to increased capital retention and expansion in your location.

Kevin has delivered a number of speeches on the subject and authored several books. These are great references to help you deepen your knowledge on the subject.

If you prefer, here is a video link of Kevin talking about the concept of lovemarks.


Would you judge your community’s brand to be a lovemark?  What cities, states or nations would you say have achieved lovemark status? What do you think holds communities back from becoming lovemarks?  Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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7 Comments so far

  1. Ed Roach

    April 3, 2009

    I agree that Lovemarks are the king of brands. I agree with almost all of Kevin’s choices for the 50 Lovemark places except one – Beirut. Really? I thought this was a war-ravaged location. I understand it once was an oasis – have I missed a newscast or two?

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  4. Graham Robertson

    February 14, 2013

    Happy Valentines. It’s a great day to think about love for the brands. Where I’ve been trying to get people to look is to link that love into more power and more profits for the brands. By finding ways to connect, whether it’s through the promise, strategy, story, freshness or the experience, it all leads to more power which can then be leveraged into more profits.

    Enjoy the day

  5. […] Love – The Secret Ingredient in Place Branding by the The Burghard Group:  […]

  6. Thomas Mills

    February 15, 2013

    I read “Lovemarks” a few years ago and really enjoyed the book. I think FedEx is probably one of my favorite LoveMarks. I wonder – if, any time an organization actually becomes a highly recognized and instantly understood aspect of our language, and the way we describe things – it’s well on it’s way to becoming a Lovemark, i.e. “…fedex your proposal” – or ”…xerox a copy”, etc.

    As a tangent – In 2009 I had an opportunity to to participate in a branding initiative for a local community college. I created a “ThoughtMark”, in conjunction with an identity toolkit (logotype and servicemark) as a visual means for underscoring the relevance of the college brand (knowing full well that logos themselves are not the brand – a brand is essentially a promise, a thought in the minds of consumers). All the market research showed this organization to be highly student centric. And, as the school was a service brand, I knew the brand could be diminished or enhanced at every point of contact. So I conceived a mark that would function as a call to action on the for faculty, administrators and staff to live the brand. This was the basis for the creation of If interested, you can see more about what was involved on my Linkedin profile (Brand Standards, etc).

  7. […] Love – The Secret Ingredient in Place Branding by the The Burghard Group:  […]

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