Why & how more brands need to take a stand to become a love brand


Beate Rosenthal, Global Brand Director Digital & Media at Merck Consumer Health

In today’s world, crowded with messages and distractions, brands need to find ever more unique ways to stand-out.

That does not just mean that brands needs to add emotional benefits to functional superiority, but they need to consider taking a stand and commit to societal topics.

Brands need to take a stand about topics, people care about

Insights based ideas that connect with consumers at a higher level are important to create brand love, but they don’t replace the need for product benefit superiority. At Merck consumer health, the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company, we are committed to the love brand idea. By the way, brand love is a scientifically proven concept with various studies showing that simply seeing their favourite brand logos caused students’ hearts to slow temporarily – literally ‘skipping a beat’.

Let me share two examples how brands can connect to a societal topic that people care about. Femibion pregnancy supplement is not just preparing mom and baby for a healthy start into a long healthy life, but is stirring the discussion to support working moms (and dads) as we believe motherhood is a qualification to be proud of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cywFBF1MYRw

Likewise, Seven seas cod liver oil is not just delivering an optimal supplementation, but going after the prejudices connected to aging, for instance claiming: true age is the one you feel inside. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOr4jYZpDBs

Always on presence and engagement

Once started, the aspiring love brand needs to be ready to be present to and interact with stakeholders all year round. Gone are the times of media flights and on off presence in the social space.  People that care about a topic will be willing and ready to share it with others. To reach people that care, we have more possibilities than ever to use precision targeting, leveraging attitudinal data from media providers including Facebooks and Google’s intuitive planning tools.

Familiarize the unfamiliar

That said, we need to all identify the right measures of marketing in the digital era, towards business outcome and connecting the dots between online and offline media. At Merck Consumer Health, we’ve connected our digital metrics to best fit with our guiding brand metrics, the so called love brand criteria. We know that Facebook page net likes and YouTube channel subscription connect with brand commitment and thereby market share.

When building plans, we need to make sure we challenge our teams and agency partners to apply the same measurement standards across touch points and thereby find a way to familiarize the unfamiliar.

Focus matters

Rather than moving from social app to social app following fads instead of real trends, we need to focus on those touch points that have the best chances to reach consumers on the topic they care about. With our multivitamin brand Bion3, we are for instance reaching busy moms that have put their own passion to the side to take care of work and family. We encourage them to restart their personal #projectme. In doing so, the touch points chosen consider the screen day of our target, which is why next to social, outdoor plays a key role as moms move through their busy day.

Having moved from almost 20 years in consumer goods to building love brands in consumer health care , I’m thrilled to see that our teams are making a difference in the world by going after societal topics people care about. The digital era allows for ever more ways to stir up such discussions and we are therefore committed to go digital full-on while integrating consumers and touch points for optimal business outcomes and improvement for the worlds we live in.

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