Companies won’t stop trying to get customers to love their brand. Freebies are always a popular strategy through conference giveaways, loyalty programs and other carrots that try to lure in happy customers.

Just try buying something anymore and see if you can escape without being asked to sign up for a rewards program.

However, trying to quantify the effectiveness of all this brand love can be tricky. The marketing and strategy agency Coherency is giving it a crack with a new tool they’ve dubbed LoveQuotient.

It’s not quite the same as queuing up a Barry White track, but Coherency believes that it has the formula to make your customers love you.

Brand Love = Consumer Choice

The Coherency methodology was tested during a multi-year study with 250 brands and 6,000 respondents. The goal was to try and quantify something that is difficult to do: emotion.

It’s an issue that particularly vexes those in the social sciences, who must try and determine what’s really behind human behavior since most decisions are not made out of pure logic. Humans are rarely rational creatures, and often have a number of things going on in their head that factor into a decision.

Coherency’s LoveQuotient formula measures the type of information you would typically find in an online dating profile: chemistry, needs fulfillment, and compatibility. It’s billed as a blueprint for companies that want to find the right secrets to building customer love.

While this particular program may be new, the desire for customer fandom certainly isn’t.

A Flurry of Loyalty Programs

For example, SurveyMonkey offers its own five ways to measure this: customer satisfaction, trust, esteem, perceived quality, and value. Expect, however, to see other researchers take a stab at cracking this code.

This perceived need to be liked by customers is another reason that loyalty programs are so popular. The average person is enrolled in a total of 10.4 different programs, according to a recent Fast Company report. That can make for a lot of those plastic cards to carry around, but it seems like customers are still happy to do it.

But to make these truly effective, they need to be tied to a product or behavior the customer really cares about, according to Charles Trevail, the CEO of brand-focused consulting firm Communispace.

“Loyalty is often tied to routine,” he says in the report. “And any innovation that simplifies a routine while enhancing the customer experience is a reward in itself.”

For example, Starbucks rewards regular customers with an occasional free drink, which is something they’ll want to come back for over and over again.

This can extend to digital products as well. Google Maps gives freebies like 1TB of cloud drive storage for those who add reviews and photos. The more natural the activity feels, the more likely customers go right along and not think twice about all that valuable information they’re giving to the company.

Title image by Ian Schneider