That devastating feeling you get when your favorite brand isn’t stocked. It’s a familiar emotion while shopping with a hopeful sigh of relief when it is discovered on the next aisle. But what makes us so devoted to hunt for certain brands? This Valentine’s Day, let’s explore some of the many emotional rationales we have to certain gadgets and goodies in order to see how it can strengthen the shopper bond and potentially avoid brand breakups.

Visual aesthetic

You love them because they reflect your lifestyle.

Strongest love emotion: Pride
Brand example: Apple

Since the dawn of marketing time, visual direction has consistently been an effective tool to get shoppers to quickly fall in love with a product. Innovative design brands – like Apple – create a unique aesthetic by personifying positive product characteristics. However, defining those characteristics come at a cost. A specific style means specific rules to keep it that way, which can limit design evolution and alienate shoppers who don’t relate to it. If the brand evolves to connect with a wider audience they need to create a gradual change with additional brand love factors to help cushion the transition. Brand aesthetics also have the possibility to overpromise the function of a product like Apple’s new MacBook Pro. A brand relationship can be love at first sight, but if there is little or no substance underneath to stay for, shoppers won’t second-guess to move on.

Brand Claim

You love them for what they stand for.

Strongest love emotion: Admiration
Brand example: DairyPure Milk

Calls-to-action can be profound proclamations, but usually lack an answer to the question “Why should I love you?” According to the professional brand cupids, claims need four things for the shopper to fall head over heels for a brand: It needs to be prove-able, interesting, symmetrical, and real. Can love be that formulaic? You could check off all of the boxes, but if the claim is disproven, the shopper will have a good reason to run off to another brand with a better claim unless the shopper has another love category attachment to it. DairyPure’s 5–Point Purity Promise® checks all the brand claim boxes, but they also strategically add in more love factors – like visual aesthetics and quality – to help woo their audience in a natural way. If a brand goes above and beyond to build claim support, shoppers will appreciate the effort and have a reason to stay loyal, longer.

Quality

You love them because they’re worth it.

Strongest love emotion: Confidence
Brand examples: Tesla

Sometimes love is purely logical. As shoppers, we are open to love a brand if we think the product quality is worthy or or beyond worthy of the price. Tesla has continuously been a great example of how quality alone can win over a shopper, and by also adding visual aesthetics and brand claims, they can create shopper loyalists. However, all of the love factors in the world can’t help if it’s relayed to a shopper with conflicting perceptions of the brand’s quality. You might think a product has high quality. Until you gift the product to someone else – they will subjectively assign a different emotional quality to it, which depreciates or hopefully adds to the value of that product. This love category is important to notice on holidays like Valentine’s Day when a 5 lb. chocolate bear might seem like a high quality gift to you, but not to your significant other who has to eat all of it.

RELIANCE

You love them because they are dependable.

Strongest emotion: Satisfying
Brand example: M&Ms

Brands can only become your B.F.F. (Brand Friend Forever) if they are always there for you when you need them. It’s as easy as grabbing the candy close to checkout when you’re having a bad day. This love factor has been used in brick and mortar for a few decades, but recently it’s evolved into the digital realm where shopper’s interests in a brand can become fickle. Long loading screens or a confusing UI can devalue the shopping journey and weaken reliance. It’s important to improve these experiences because shoppers appreciate and remember the satisfaction of quick load sites and easy navigation. It doesn’t take much for a shopper to hop to another brand if they find it more convenient.

We’ve explored the fact that the emotional (and sometimes rational) bond of love can be a strong reason behind buying habits. So what makes you love the brands you love? Are they your brand soul mate or just a lukewarm friend? I challenge you to ask this question the next time you reach toward the grocery store shelf. The more we train ourselves to pinpoint these reasons to love, the more we’ll bond with our shopper. Happy Valentine’s Day and happy shopping!