As we put Valentine’s Day in our rear-view, I started thinking about how we fall in love with brands much the same way we fall in love with our significant others.  Think about it.  We all have a brand or two that we have that “till-death do we part” style relationship with.

For some, it might be our technology products.  Look no further than the Apple following to understand what I’m talking about. On a more local level, we might have that bar or restaurant that makes us feel like we are on the set of Cheers.  Maybe it is your local coffee shop, with your specific drink that gets you through each day.

Research has shown that we have relationships with the brands around us much like we have connections with other people.  Some brands we fell in love with when we were younger, but then we grew older and realized what love truly is.  Some brands we have one-night stands with, wild and short term.  Others, we settle down with and make part of our daily life.

In the marketing world, we strive hard to create the initial sparks of love and help our clients nurture that relationship into a long term focus.  The best brands do so by making their customers feel special, like they are the only one for them.

Take the recent Winter Olympics commercials from P&G.  Touching commercials thanking the moms of all the Olympic athletes for all the times they helped pick our young Olympians back up, giving them the love and encouragement to be where they are today.   This commercial has registered with the countless female, mother customers that buy their products every day.  They feel appreciated and special for their role.

So how can you help your customers fall in love with your brand? Here are some quick tips to get you on your way.

Know Who You Are

Imagine going on a first date and not being able to answer any of the personal questions your date asks you.  Believe it or not, many brands take this approach to dating their customers.  Be able to quickly explain what you do and what makes you a perfect fit for them.  At the same time, no one wants to go on a date with someone who just rambles on.  Gauge out your customers hot-button issues and find one or two areas to create a bond over.

Know Your Type

Know the type of customer you want to do business with.  You would never go on a date with someone who you weren’t attracted to.  The same holds true for the business world.  The trick for us marketing teams is to help you understand your type on a deeper level.  We study their emotional and social needs to help you tailor your approach to appeal to them.

Stand Out

The first few meetings between brand and consumer dictate whether the relationship has potential or whether it remains in the dreaded friend-zone  Remember, consumers who fall in love with your brand become your will want to brag and boast about you, much like the fresh new couple likes to talk about their perfect relationship. Use this knowledge to seek local influencers out, get their opinions, consistently make them feel special, and work to establish intimacy.

Deepen the Connection

Create a deeper bond with your customers so that they feel like they are unique and special to you.  Invite your best customers to special events, give them offers and promotions, and call them directly to ask their opinion on some decisions you will be making.  All of these strategies let customers know how important they are to you and your success.

Making Up

Just like your own relationships, there are many opportunities for conflict between you and your customer.  These usually come about when a mistake was made.  Sometimes, how these situations are managed can be the difference between a lifetime of loyalty or the end of the road.  Showing a willingness to go out of your way to fix a problem or help a customer out can create a connection with the brand that is stronger than before the problem occurred.

Breaking Up

Someone once told me that in business, I will lose every client I have ever had.  In my case, their business may go under, they may have financial troubles, they may end up hiring internally to fulfill our role, or many other reasons.  For others, their customers may move away, pass away, or potentially even work with a competitor.

Just like your old fling, it is important to not dwell on the loss and develop a sense of self-doubt.  The best thing you can do is take a step back and assess the relationship, then take the things you learned along the way and apply them to the next opportunity.