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I [love] brands: people really do love their favorite brands. Here's how to get them to fall in love with yours.

about the book

Romancing the Brand: How Brands Create Strong, Intimate Relationships with Consumers

by Tim Halloran

Jossey-Bass, 2014

272 pages

Who doesn't love a little romance? After all, it makes the world go round. According to Tim Halloran, author of Romancing the Brand: How Brands Create Strong, Intimate Relationships with Consumers, even consumers and the organizations they patronize are at their best when a romance blooms in the marketplace.

His inspiration was a result of a focus group held at Coca-Cola, where a woman candidly referred to Diet Coke as her "boyfriend." That led Halloran to the conclusion that consumers can fall in love with brands. Using the backdrop of how a romantic relationship develops, Halloran takes the reader on a journey through the phases a brand must travel in order to succeed.

His case-study approach takes us behind the scenes of some of the world's top organizations. The upbeat pace, countless examples and insights from great minds behind well-known brands (think Coca-Cola, the professional American football team the Atlanta Falcons and the U.S. cable television channel Turner Classic Movies, to name a few) should renew readers' enthusiasm for the marketing profession, as well as give them a few ideas to take back to their own organization.

Addressing challenges that can frustrate even the most seasoned marketers sets this book apart from others in this category. Halloran writes, "Technology has given us a plethora of new tools that we don't ... know how to use--primarily because we are trying to apply them within the context of an outdated way of thinking." Encouraging change, he offers tips on how to evaluate the information organizations get from the people they serve.

Halloran's willingness to remind marketers to keep social media in their place is refreshing. While social media are tools we can use to connect with consumers, Halloran says, they rarely compare to other, more tried-and-true marketing methods, which he describes in greater detail. As marketers, we don't want our customer relationships going lax or stagnant any more than we would our personal relationships.

Linear thinkers might find Halloran's sense of organization distracting and the large cast of players hard to keep track of (numerous characters and references to topics that aren't discussed until later chapters are commonplace). Yet he does come full circle in his examples. The best advice is to keep a sharp memory of events in order to fully appreciate the aha moments Halloran eventually shares.

These aha moments should be as valuable to fresh, newly graduated marketers as they are to experienced professionals. Since no one is off the hook in keeping personal relationships healthy, no one gets a free pass from keeping brands relevant. Halloran is wise to maintain this stance too. The consumer marketplace in which these brand relationships develop is constantly evolving, and so, too, should the marketers who engage them.

about the reviewer

Morgan Leu Parkhurst is owner of Sharp Mind Marketing, a marketing education firm. She is also an instructor for the Des Moines Area Community College and Des Moines Public Schools Community Education in Iowa. Leu Parkhurst has volunteered in a variety of capacities for IABC, and she is a past president of IABC Iowa.
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Author:Parkhurst, Morgan Leu
Publication:Communication World
Article Type:Book review
Date:Feb 1, 2014
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