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We all have that friend who has to have the newest Louis Vuitton handbag despite the countless alternatives at a tenth of the price. Or the teen who "will just die" if he doesn't sport the new kicks from the Nike Class of '97 Pack, which (in addition to making him a better player) says as much about him as an individual as they do an athlete.

What drives that type of obsessive behavior in people?

Simply put, it is love—brand love. The same kind of love that brings two people together also connects consumers and brands at an emotional level. By touching consumers on a deep, subconscious level, brands elicit what some would classify as crazy behavior. There's no mistaking the power of love.

We've known for decades that brand success is empowered by consumer emotion. A whopping 95% of purchasing decisions take place in the subconscious mind, according to Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman's book How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market.

Three essentials of a loving relationship

Honing in on one of our deepest and most powerful emotions, the principles of human relationship science tell us there are three essential components of a loving relationship:

  1. Chemistry
  2. Needs fulfillment
  3. Compatibility

The same holds true in relationships between consumers and brands.

Chemistry is that unexplainable excitement when the heart outraces the mind. It generates a sense of excitement often accompanied by what may be considered irrational desire. Luxury brands, for example, benefit from strong chemistry that drives consumer price insensitivities.

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image of Jeff Meleski

Jeff Meleski is chief executive officer and managing partner of Coherency (previously Chatter Inc.), a marketing insights and strategy agency expert in deciphering the emotional and rational drivers of consumer behavior.

LinkedIn: Jeff Meleski