There are many who believe that love makes the world go ’round. For top brands like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix, this would appear to be true, according to the 2016 Love Index study conducted by Accenture Interactive and Fjord. The survey polled over 26,000 international respondents not only about what makes people love a brand but also about what sustains that love.

The Love Index ranked brands on how fun, relevant, engaging, social and helpful they were. The “most loved” brands scored highly in all of these five areas. While the study focused on the business-to-customer (B2C) space, business-to-business (B2B) companies can also benefit from incorporating those elements into their branding using the following lessons learned from America’s most loved brands. Tweet This

1. Best loved brands find the fun factor

Just because you’re in the B2B space doesn’t mean your brand can’t be fun. The Love Index defines fun as, “holding people’s attention in an entertaining way.” Your customers might be other businesses but those businesses are run by people – people who enjoy interesting stories, anecdotes, and humor relating to your business and industry. Find that human element and you will find the fun.

With their viral Live Test videos, Volvo Trucks proved there’s not much that can top the fun factor of a four-year-old girl driving a full-sized Volvo Truck through a building – safely via remote control, of course:

To date, the Live Test series includes 26 jaw dropping videos that show exactly how entertaining marketing can be.

2. Give customers not only what they need but what they want

No matter what your industry happens to be, there are always changes and advances taking place. Making it easy for your customers to find clear, concise, up to date information about the products and services they need and want is key to staying relevant. Keeping them apprised of any updates you’re making to stay cutting edge, can be helpful, too.

Knorr, known for its soup and gravy mixes, knocked this one out of the park. The company’s dehydrated mixes are naturally gluten-free. Knorr focused their marketing efforts on chefs and caterers, publishing a collection of gluten-free recipes and even offering a free, live-streaming master class on how the hospitality industry could better cater to clients following a gluten-free diet. This helped Knorr’s customers to keep abreast of the growing demand for gluten-free options that was previously being underserved.

3. Personalization and customization is not optional

Customers love brands that are engaging. Engaging brands are able to adapt to their customers’ needs and expectations. Personalizing your customers’ experiences is an effective way to make them feel engaged with your brand.

It’s telling that nearly all of the brands on the 2016 Love Index are digital, with Netflix snagging the list’s top spot as Most Loved Brand. This could be in large part due not only to the ubiquitous presence of digital technology in everyday life but also due to the flexibility and ease of customization a digital user interface can provide.

4. Making a connection is a must

The prevalence of social media has raised expectations for a social component in its marketing strategy to just about any business. However, the Love Index found that in some industries such as retail, the social element is practically ignored by most companies. If your business can introduce a social element and connect within your industry and with your customers, you have an an ideal opportunity for disruption.

The last place you might expect such a connection would probably be in commercial farming, but that’s exactly where The Mosaic Company, a leading global fertilizer provider, made a splash with their podcast,The Great Yield Mystery.” This fully dramatized story about two brothers facing a crop that was coming up short provided listeners the opportunity to solve the mystery and win prizes. Clues and conjecture were shared dover social media with over 2,000 listeners working together to solve the podcast’s puzzles. This was great exposure for Mosaic that also sparked connection within the community.

5. Lend a helping hand

Is your brand helpful? According to the Love Index, a helpful brand is, “efficient, easy, and adapts over time.” It’s one thing to provide a product or service but it’s another altogether to actively help your customers, partnering with them in such a way that makes it easier for them to run their businesses.

One major automobile manufacturer has specialized in making helpfulness their business. It’s nearly impossible to live in southern California without having heard of or directly interacted with the SoCal Helpful Honda Dealers. This particular movement isn’t just a multimedia ad campaign, it’s a decade-long commitment to not only helping customers but also the local community. Most recently, the company’s Happy Honda Days campaign partnered with numerous charities helping children, seniors, special needs individuals, and the homeless.

Honda’s outreach may not be B2B but it certainly illustrates the type of goodwill and partnerships that can be developed when a business incorporates helpfulness as a key brand element.

If your brand hasn’t been feeling the love, it could be because your brand is falling short in the areas of fun, relevance, engagement, social connection or helpfulness. Embrace the above lessons learned from America’s most loved brands and not only will your brand feel the love, your customers will, too.

Photo Credit: @andreeas, Twenty20