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How MSMEs can go beyond branding to emotionally connect with consumers through ‘lovemark’

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Lovemark is essentially a marketing concept introduced by Kevin Roberts, who headed a prominent advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi based in the UK, in his book Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands. The concept focuses on developing an emotional connection between the brand and the consumer.

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: In a country with 63 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), consumers remain flooded with choices between a multitude of commodities with no unique differentiation and sold in common price buckets. This makes it difficult for businesses to retain customers. MSMEs can solve this problem by going beyond branding and creating a lovemark for their brand, according to Dr Rajendra Prasad Sharma, Professor of Marketing, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT).

In a masterclass session on “How Creating a Lovemark for Your MSME Products Cost Less Than Traditional Branding” at FE MSME Business Conclave last week, Sharma emphasised the importance of lovemark in the Indian market as consumers are unable to connect with brands emotionally. This arises due to a lack of differentiation in the value proposition of the commodities sold.
Lovemark is essentially a marketing concept introduced by Kevin Roberts, who headed a prominent advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi based in the UK, in his book Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands. The concept focuses on developing an emotional connection between the brand and the consumer.

Sharma described commodities as “products with low respect and love, for example, cement.” While cement in itself does not represent a unique emotion to the consumer, ‘Ambuja Cement’ as a brand symbolises strength. It has a high level of love and respect as it gives consumers a promise of safety. 

Consumer respect and love can be monetized through a premium charged on products and services because consumers want to pay for the product as well as the brand. Hence the “commodity business” of selling products and services must transform into a lovemark by establishing an emotional connection with consumers, Sharma explained.