By  on November 16, 2005

The fashion industry needs to do a better job pumping out lovemarks.

What's a lovemark, you may ask?

It's a term coined by Kevin Roberts, chief executive officer worldwide for Saatchi & Saatchi, the global advertising agency, which describes brands that inspire loyalty beyond reason. Lovemarks reach one's heart, as well as one's mind, and create an intimate and emotional connection to the consumer. Roberts is the author of "Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands" (PowerHouse Books).

Roberts said few brands in the fashion industry truly connect with the customer in an emotional way. "Humans are powered by emotion, not reason. Emotion has driven fashion and will continue to do so."

Roberts explained that reason plays a major role in marketing, and it's time to get rid of it. The major difference between reason and emotion is that reason leads to conclusions and emotion leads to action. "Most of the advertising in the fashion business leads to conclusions, not action and not sales. It's more about the products and the fashion and not about the feelings of the consumer."

Having begun his career at Mary Quant in London, Roberts sees similarities between the fashion and advertising industries.

"At Saatchi & Saatchi, we're in the ideas business. And fashion, after all, is one big idea. The challenge is to make sure that ideas and dreams keep moving forward," he said.

He said fashion is about getting to the future first. "It's not about giving consumers what they want. It's about giving them what they never dreamed possible. Getting to the future first is what it's all about. If you're there second, people don't care."

Two major events occurring in the fashion industry are "the speed revolution," and "the China revolution." Roberts cited quick-turning Zara as an example of how fast products move through the pipeline, and said China is discovering its innate creativity. "They [the Chinese] have extraordinary manufacturing capability and price, but are being boosted now by fantastic creativity. They're coming not just on price, they're coming on fabric, color and style," he said, urging the audience to join them as partners and mentors, not simply as a supplier of cheap products.

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