Intimacy and connection — no man is an island. People want to feel special and Lover brands exist to meet this need. In this journey we call life, what’s love got to do with it? Everything.
This post is a part of a series on the 12 Brand Archetypes and how to use them to build a stronger brand. To learn more, read the introduction here.
All About the Lover
- Promise: Love makes the world go 'round
- Core desire: To attain intimacy
- Goal: Being in relationship with things they love
- Fear: Being alone or unwanted
- Strategy: Become attractive to others
- Gift: Appreciation and passion
- Motivation: Belonging and connection
Don't be misled by the name; it's not just about romance. The Lover archetype encapsulates all types of love — parental, familial, friendships, spiritual, and romantic. The Lover wants to have close relationships, achieve intimacy, feel special, and make others feel special, too. The Lover is passionate and unashamed in fostering relationship and expressing appreciation.
There is also a sensual aspect that the Lover archetype represents. Anything that pleasures the senses – beautiful things, enticing smells, indulgent foods – give joy and delight to the Lover.
We see this archetype expressed all the time, from Hallmark to Victoria’s Secret. Other examples are Beyoncé, Chanel, Godiva, SendOutCards, and eHarmony.
The Lover Brand in Action
The Lover archetype can show up in many industries, but is naturally seen in cosmetics, jewelry, fashion, and food. Wine and gourmet chocolate? Check. Spa treatments and beauty secrets? Check. Gifts just because? Check. With offerings like these, Lover brands help consumers to
- Find love or friendships
- Show appreciation to others
- Become more attractive to others
- Pleasure their senses
Marketing for lover brands can run the gamut, depending on the type of love they represent. Deep jewel tones or fiery red are often used; or they may be softer more romantic tones. Elegant script typefaces or handwritten fonts can make an appearance. It may be friendly or could be edgy and erotic (of course sex sells — you got that memo, right?). In all cases, the marketing focuses on the consumer, making them feel special, and always has a strong emotional appeal.
For Lover brands, customer appreciation is a way of life and is likely a big part of their business plan. Staying in good relationship with those they serve and providing customer service keeps the customer madly in love with them. (Cue heart eyes emoji here.)
Organizationally, the Lover brand is intimate and elegant. It values partnerships and is collaborative and team-oriented, to the point of decision-making by consensus. Employees tend to be passionate about the vision and values, and quality of relationship throughout the organization is high.
The passion of the Lover archetype is an asset. But it works both ways. On the negative side, passion can become jealousy, or in the case of brands, a competitiveness that can take over if not careful.
Pricing for Lover brand offerings falls in the mid to high range.
The Different Levels of the Lover Archetype
Each archetype can be experienced or expressed at different levels. The lower levels are less mature while higher levels are more developed.
Level 1 of the Lover archetype is pretty surface level, in terms of intimacy. This is where we find the pure pleasure-seekers — the casual fling or one-dimensional friendships. Connections may be established and are likely even passionate, but they are not truly intimate or personal.
Level 2 of the Lover is all about forming deeper attachments and establishing commitments with who and what we love. We start to find fulfillment in these relationships.
Level 3 brings us to a spiritual love. With a sense of wholeness and connection to others, it is a love that extends to mankind as a whole. Those that have experienced the love of Christ can understand that as the ultimate expression, truly filling the deepest of voids we have for love.
All in the Family
There are different aspects of the Lover archetype that can emerge, based on the strength of various attributes. The book Archetypes in Branding breaks these nuances down into sub-archetypes (including the primary Lover) for a total of five in the family.
Faithful and passionate, the Lover is all about intimacy and togetherness. Don’t think it stops at kisses and roses, however. The Lover’s DNA pushes beyond romantic feeling to a state of being. The Lover appreciates beauty in various forms and values collaboration. The challenge facing the Lover is letting a fear of being alone, disconnected, or ultimately, unloved, overtake them.
Like The Commodores, the sensual Romantic just wants to be close to you. Charming and charismatic, optimistic and sociable, the Romantic can be intense emotionally. This sub-archetype may profess “you complete me”, due to a strong belief in the power of oneness that stems from a shared love. The Romantic can stumble over its own optimism, however. The challenge is in removing the rose-colored glasses and not getting caught up in the chase.
The Companion is loyal and trustworthy, and is the comrade and confidante we turn to when we need a helping hand or a patient ear. This sub-archetype holds a deep respect for a person’s inherent value and values relationship. The Companion may be devoted to a fault — potentially leading to loss of self and a rise of dependency.
The Hedonist is the erotic and sensual sub-archetype. Living in the moment, and living for pleasure, the Hedonist seeks out the exciting things in life to indulge in. The Hedonist must be careful of indulging too much. This sub-archetype may also show disregard for others in pursuit of pleasure.
The power of human connection and relationship dynamics are well understood by the Matchmaker, and this sub-archetype acts as a facilitator to draw people together. The Matchmaker uses strategy and intuition to spot patterns that can facilitate connections. The Matchmaker’s challenge is in allowing intuition to remain the guide when tempted to let judgment and personal agenda take over.
Examples of Lover Brands
Hallmark is a perfect example of a Lover brand. While the following commercial focuses on romantic love, Hallmark facilitates connection for every other relationship in your life, too. From National Boss Day to National Nurses Day, you turn to Hallmark whenever you want to show someone you are thinking of and appreciate them. Hallmark leads to closeness.
Christian Dior is known the world over for haute couture fashion, fragrance, and beauty products. Dior as a brand promises to make you beautiful and more desirable. While there are a few ideas at play in the following Dior fragrance commercial, the sensuality blatantly speaks to the lower levels of the Lover archetype. Do you j’adore Dior?
And really, what better example of unconditional love than that of our furry family members? Pet brands often heavily pull on the Lover archetype. Are pets possibly the perfect companion?
The Mayhew Animal Home, an animal shelter in London, did a great job of showing how it feels to come home to ‘the one’ after a long hard day in a seemingly cruel and uncaring world.
Cesar, a dog food brand, featured a touching relationship between a man and his dog. What the following commercial does so successfully is highlight a companionship dynamic as opposed to a caregiver dynamic. Instead of just a man and his dog, this becomes a relationship between two equals. Each one loves and is loved in return.
The Lover Consumer
The Lover consumer is driven to connect with others. In the Western world, we live in a society that has become more and more individualistic. As a result, the void for true meaningful relationship keeps getting bigger and bigger. The Lover consumer will look to fill this void in a myriad of ways — from seeking out like-minded people to bond with, to creating the best version of themselves to attract others to them. Lover consumers want to feel special. They want brands that love them and that they can love back. If their needs aren’t met, brands risk losing them to a competitor that can make them feel special again.
Is Your Brand a Lover?
Are you passionate about people? Do you dote on your customers, knowing you are nothing without them? Do you help people find or deepen relationships, or offer products that make them feel more attractive? Even if you don’t see your brand as romantic or sensual, if intimacy is the core tenet of your existence, you are likely a Lover brand.