Keeping the Spark Alive

I am a firm believer in the idea that brands should be approached and understood in the same way as our relationships.

So, it’s no surprise that some playful Valentine’s Day relationship advice might actually reveal valuable insights for brands, particularly aging ones. Avoid a stale relationship or brand with these tips for keeping the spark alive… with your brand, that is.

Say “I love you”

Perhaps not literally, but it is important that your consumers feel appreciated and valued. Pay attention to the little things by thanking them for their loyalty or surprising them with added value like a free service, product or discount. Acknowledge that they have a choice to engage with your brand and you are happy and grateful for it.

Grow together, not apart

In the case of a brand, distance does not make the heart grow fonder. As time passes, things change—including people, experiences, and expectations. So often we see once great brands become irrelevant relics. Embrace change. Reinvent and reinvest so you stay top of mind and sustain a meaningful relationship between your consumers and your brand. Challenge your consumer to act or think differently. A great brand is bold, taking big risks and often reaping bigger payoffs. 

Remember when you first met

The first moments of a new relationship are often the most romantic. We try feverishly to impress the other and win their affection. Regardless of how successful or developed your brand is or becomes, avoid getting too comfortable in existing patterns or losing sight of the foundation that your brand was built upon. Remind your consumer why they fell in love with you in the first place. Whether it’s a return to quality, service, or a nostalgic experience, find opportunities to reignite excitement for your consumer and they will fall in love with you all over again.

“Remind your consumer why they
fell in love with you in the first place.”

Don’t go to bed mad

If your consumer has a bad experience with your brand, address it immediately. Particularly if they take their anger online. With social media outlets like Twitter, addressing consumer concerns in real time has become mandatory. Consumers have more power than ever before; a simple tweet about a bad experience can spark a revolution against your brand. A day in the twitter-verse is like a hundred years in real time. The longer you wait, the more consumers you risk losing or offending.


No, not like that. What I mean is, as consumer diversity continues to increase, it takes more than just focus groups and surveys to understand the deep complexities of the people and experiences that make up your market. You need to literally put yourself in your consumer’s shoes, and step outside of your own perceptions to understand theirs. Examine their options, the choices they make and personally replicate their experience with your brand at every touchpoint noting where the experience breaks down. Learn what moves, annoys, and attracts each unique consumer. These role-playing exercises will empower you to anticipate behaviors and expectations—insight that will help you sustain and strengthen their relationship with your brand.

For more brand relationship advice, check out my blog, My Boyfriend the Brand.

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Great insights. I feel like so many companies loose sight of their relationships with the consumers. They expect them to consume without realizing the complexity of WHY they purchase. Getting back to basic & real relationships is always helpful… Thanks Ashley!


I enjoyed and truly agree with your thoughts on subject\nrole play. truly look how we doing from the customer point view.\ntouch points.\nto many choices is not always best.\nits about our food quality and friendliness of service team and mgt.\n\nthank you for your insight\n\naloha robert\ncommunication starts with ME

robert leopoldino

So simple but yet so true. Very well explained.

Stephanie Kaneko

Good work Ashley! “Love” the analogy…

Jim Malone

So true

Rachael Lile

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