Digital marketing strategies come and go, but getting customers to love your brand will always be important. In her new book, Brand Love, speaker, brand strategist, and author Lydia Michael explores how to develop a love for your brand by speaking to your audience as human beings – not just a set of demographic data points. She recently joined us to talk about the writing experience, how she promoted the book ahead of its launch date, and some of the key takeaways.
Brand Love is available for purchase on Amazon.
If you are ever looking to drive greater brand loyalty for long-term sustained success, be sure to check out her company, Blended Collective, a multicultural marketing and brand consultancy. You can also learn more about Lydia on her website.
Let’s start from the beginning. What inspired you to write Brand Love?
The journey began during my time at L’Oréal in 2016 when I was writing my master’s thesis. It was during this period that I first encountered the captivating concept of brand love. As I delved deeper into the subject, I realized the immense impact that brand love can have on a company’s success. The emotional connection formed between a brand and its consumers is a powerful force that drives loyalty, advocacy, and ultimately, business growth. I was fascinated by the potential of brand love to transform customer relationships and elevate brands to new heights. After completing my thesis, I continued to explore the concept of brand love in my professional work, incorporating it into my client projects.
Witnessing firsthand the positive outcomes that emerged from fostering brand love, I became even more passionate about sharing this knowledge with others in the marketing industry. This enthusiasm led me to take on speaking engagements at national marketing conferences. The response was overwhelming, with each session attracting a full audience and consistently sold-out workshops. The hunger for understanding and implementing brand love strategies was evident, further fueling my dedication to spreading awareness and practical insights on the topic. Writing a book about brand love became a natural extension of my journey. I wanted to offer a comprehensive resource that encapsulated the essence of this transformative concept.
Through my book, I aim to provide marketers, entrepreneurs, and brand enthusiasts with a roadmap to creating and nurturing powerful brand connections. It’s an opportunity to share my expertise, experiences, and strategies that have proven successful in building brand love across cultures and countries internationally. Ultimately, my inspiration for writing this book stems from the profound impact brand love can have on businesses and the genuine satisfaction I derive from helping others unlock their brand’s potential. I firmly believe that by cultivating brand love and humanizing brands, organizations can not only thrive but also create lasting, meaningful relationships with their customers.
Take us through the writing process. Was it easier than you expected? More difficult?
When it comes to the book writing process, I must admit that it was both challenging and fulfilling. As I embarked on this journey, I had a clear vision of what I wanted to achieve – to create a timeless book that not only explained the concept of brand love but also kept the readers engaged and constantly learning. I wanted to make sure the content is relatable and practical, so by creating the “Brand Love Drivers” and “The Eight Brand Love Stages” models, I was able to take it in that exact direction. However, I soon realized that transforming my ideas into a cohesive book was no easy task.
One of the biggest challenges I encountered was incorporating the right brand examples and key marketing concepts throughout the book while determining what brands to feature. Like humans, brands constantly evolve and change, so throughout the process, I had to go back several times to make changes and ensure accurate information. I wanted to strike a balance between providing practical insights and inspiring readers with real-life stories, so I had to seek permission from about 40 brands to be able to feature their examples or stories in my book. The book easily features over 100 brand mentions. Selecting the most relevant and impactful examples took careful consideration, as I wanted to ensure that readers could connect with the content on a personal level. It required extensive research and analysis to identify the brands, clients, case studies, studies, and even the right interviewees that best exemplified the principles and multicultural strategies I wanted to convey on a global scale.
Furthermore, maintaining reader engagement was a top priority for me. I wanted the book to be more than just an informative resource; I wanted it to be a captivating read that would hold the reader’s attention from chapter to chapter. This meant finding a balance between theory and application, providing actionable steps and thought-provoking exercises, and structuring the content in a way that flowed seamlessly.
To overcome these challenges, I made it a priority to stay updated on the latest trends and developments in the marketing industry and find constant inspiration while writing. Some of this included a random trip to Cleveland, spending time in nature, listening to podcasts, and being around different groups of people. Being in these different environments allowed me to draw parallels between the person-to-person and person-to-brand relationships throughout the book. It also allowed me to incorporate fresh and relevant insights that resonated with the current business landscape but also ones that would be relevant for years to come.
Additionally, I focused on infusing my own voice into the writing, ensuring that the book reflected my passion, inspirations, and years of expertise. By doing so, I aim to create a connection with the readers, making them feel like they are on a journey with me. Though the book writing process was undoubtedly demanding, the outcome was well worth the effort. By navigating through the challenges and staying true to my vision, I was able to create a book that provides valuable knowledge, practical guidance, and an engaging experience for readers. It is my hope that this book inspires individuals to unlock the power of brand love and achieve remarkable success in their own marketing endeavors for many years to come.
It’s easier than ever to self-publish your work and promote it as a digital download on Amazon. How was it working with a publisher?
Working with a book publisher for my first book was truly a learning experience for me. Having someone to guide me throughout the process was invaluable, as they provided insights and expertise in the publishing industry. Despite the guidance, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I still maintained my creative freedom and ownership to write, which was important to me. Having the best of both worlds—creative freedom and professional support—made the writing journey an enjoyable one. I could focus on crafting my ideas and bringing my story to life, knowing that I had the backing of a reputable publisher.
You have done a great job of promoting Brand Love ahead of its launch. What promotional tactics have you found to be the most successful so far?
Thank you! Well, now that the manuscript is turned in, a new aspect of the process has emerged: marketing the book. This part requires more time and effort than I had initially anticipated. To be honest, the bulk of the marketing you see for the book publicly is likely done by myself and my own team at Blended Collective. It’s not uncommon for authors to take an active role in promoting their work, and I’ve embraced the opportunity to connect with readers directly. I’ve worked tirelessly to create marketing strategies, engage with readers through various channels, and spread the word about the book.
While the marketing aspect may be demanding, I view it as an essential part of the overall publishing experience. It allows me to connect with my audience, share my passion for the book, and hopefully inspire readers to pick it up. I’ve been experimenting with a mix of ways to market the book such as video marketing, sharing quotes, and connecting with groups and organizations who allow me to tap into their audiences to reach large groups of people to promote.
Are there any promotional tactics that have not worked?
While the effectiveness of marketing tactics can vary, some may not always yield successful results. Excessive social media self-promotion is one of them. Constantly bombarding your social media followers with self-promotional posts may lead to audience fatigue and disengagement. Balancing promotional content with valuable and relevant posts can be more effective. Supplementing with other tactics such as online promotions, book giveaways, author interviews, or virtual events can expand your reach. Every book and author is unique, so it’s essential to assess the effectiveness of different tactics based on your specific goals, target audience, and genre. Experimentation, data analysis, and adapting your approach are key to finding what works best for your book.
What’s next for you as a marketer and writer? Are you thinking about writing another book?
The future holds exciting possibilities. With my book set to publish this month, it marks a significant milestone in my journey. My next steps revolve around connecting with my readers and embracing the joy of having my book out in the world, alive and impacting others. One avenue I’m already exploring is to utilize my expertise and the insights shared within my writing to engage audiences through conferences, workshops, and other speaking opportunities internationally. To me, it’s important to enjoy each step along the way while continuing to provide value to the marketing community, business owners, and beyond.
“I firmly believe that by cultivating brand love and humanizing brands, organizations can not only thrive but also create lasting, meaningful relationships with their customers.”Lydia Michael, author, Brand Love
If you had to summarize Brand Love into three main takeaways, what would those be?
First, consider the importance of culture in marketing. Remember that emotions are universal and travel through cultures and experiences in the same way brands do. We base our consumer choices on our values and view the world based on the cultures we grow up in and that surround us. This affects our consumer behavior, attitudes, and lifestyle. Because of this, I reference brand examples across different cultures and markets to give you a glimpse into brand love in different, international contexts.
Second, humanize your brand. Shift the focus from B2B or B2C relationships to the core of human-to-human connections. Authenticity becomes paramount, so explore ways to humanize your brand and foster genuine relationships with your audience.
Finally, adapt during challenges. Acknowledge that during times of adversity, brand love and consumer behavior can undergo significant shifts. Be prepared to adjust your approach accordingly, understanding the evolving needs and desires of your customers to maintain relevance and connection. By incorporating these takeaways into your marketing strategies, you can forge stronger connections, cultivate authenticity, and navigate changing landscapes to create lasting brand loyalty.
Nick Mattar is the founder and CEO of Digital Detroit.