That was the message at Ad Week today, when Dominic Grounsell, the Travelex marketer, Martin George, the Post Office CMO and Carrie Longton, the Mumsnet co-founder, joined together to discuss what brand love means in an increasingly promiscuous age.
Neil Davidson, executive planning director from agency HeyHuman kicked off the session with research that showed that while some brands benefit from loyal consumer sentiment, more and more people admit to having "flings" with other brands.
For example, while British Airways scores highly against loyalty, 75% of people define Easyjet as a "friend with benefits".
You can't make someone love you
Consumers also increasingly have "secret relationships" with brands like McDonald's (60%), suggesting they are increasingly indiscriminate, placing ease and availability above loyalty.
Davidson said: "One of the truths about brand love is you can't make someone love you and sometimes a quick fling is better."
This, he said, posed the question of whether relationships between brands and consumers were becoming "more about Tinder than Mills and Boon."
Authenticity and customer service drives loyalty
However, George said service brands are essentially about "people taking care of other people" and that businesses must not lose sight of that.
He said: "Authentic human values in my experience differentiate good service brands from great service brands. Today's customers really understand the deal – there's a kind of contract – of the more I give the more I get in return."
The concept of the value exchange was something industry benefitted from and should tap into. However, because the modern consumer has fleeting relationships with brands, the loyalty challenge is greater.
Grounsell added that while there are people with a "monogamous" relationship with brands, it was "bloody rare". Brands, he said, need to add value through delivering long term strategic plans, rather than driving sales through quick, promotional driven tactics.
For the Mumsnet brand to be credible, Longton said, distinct personality was essential to driving loyalty.
She said: "It's all about believing you have something to offer... and remaining true."