LOVEMARKS LEADERSHIP Part II: Engagement Through Emotional Connections

“REASONS Lead to Conclusion;  EMOTIONS Lead to Action.” – Kevin Roberts,  Author of Lovemarks

Last month, I shared the first of several professional and personal takeaways from the game-changing book called Lovemarks by Kevin Roberts. (If you haven’t read the October ’17 article, may I suggest you read it before proceeding with this one?) As stated in the previous article, Roberts was focusing on marketing in general, but I will be sharing insights on how it applies to our golf industry and to all facility types.

If you read the quote from Kevin Robert in Lovemarks (above), it really lines up well with “The Start With Why” concept shared by Simon Sinek (in the most watched TedTalk of all time.) Paraphrased, “the whats” lead to conclusions and decisions, BUT it “the whys” (the emotional connections) that drive the actions on the decisions. Sinek says it his own way, “…When we communicate from the inside out (starting with why), we are talking directly to the part of the brain that controls behavior and then we allow people to rationalize it with the tangible things we say and do (the whats)…”

Please watch this very memorable ad from the 2013  Super Bowl telecast:

Now that you’ve watched it, let’s ask ourselves some questions:

  • Did the brand tell us any of the features and benefits of the truck? Or did they talk about the price? Or any rebates, offers or similar?
  • If they didn’t focus on these “whats,” then what did they actually focus on?
  • If this is your first time seeing this ad (or if you can recall when you first saw it,) did it move you emotionally? Did you feel a connection with the brand? Did it remind of any childhood memories, relationships or experiences?

The results from the ad were powerful. According to sources, in 2013 the brand had its best February sales in six years, up 3 percent from February 2012.

So how does this apply to golf? It applies to golf because golfers, in a survey of more than 7,000 told us there #2 reason for playing golf was “spending time with friends, making new ones.” It’s right here where we see the golfer saying, “Give me meaningful social connections, give me emotional connections with you, other golfers and your facilty.” When these emotional connections are delivered to our consumer, lovemarks happen…and the behavior, or increased engagement, nearly always follows.

You’re thinking: Okay Pro, you’ve made your point, now how do I apply this? How do I increase my ability to create lovemarks, create followership and drive engagement?


  • Intentionally design, or at least consider, the opportunities you/your staff have to create “moments that matter.” (If you don’t know which matter to your consumers, ask a few of them.) Attn: Head Professional/Dir of Golf: If you hope that your staff will help you make the most of these moments that matter, it would seem they need to have two things from you:
    • Proper training and support to deliver on these moments (study what Disney does) starting with “sticking out their hand and making eye contact.”
    • These front line teammembers are your first customers, so they need “moments that matter” too – they need to understand they matter to the success of the business, and that they matter.
  • Quit the “e-blast” addiction! (Sure, these tools can still work, but not when they are overused. These days, the typical email blast to 3,000 people will get a response from less than 2% of the database (or about 60 people.) But, if you send all of your customers every email, you’ll end up annoying a large part of your database because they aren’t interested in everything you’re doing. Instead, get personal and get direct. (See application below.)
    • Simply, save the e-blasts for the times when you have a message or relevant messages for your entire database. At least get really specific about segmenting your database so you don’t send emails to the wrong consumers and create “negative moments” with them.


  • Instead of seeking to get your customers’ attention, seek to inspire them to participate!
    • Take the extra time to IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET CONSUMER for the event or clinic/program you are thinking of…make sure these customers “why” is primary for their participation.
    • Create a “personalized one to one email” that you/your staff can send to these segmented customers. The extra time you take in connecting will result in greater response to your outreach. (If you need help with this, I can provide you with a simple template to follow.)
  • Seek to share the story of how they’ll win through a “return on their involvement” (invite them to be part of something special, something you know is important to them; create opportunities that build connection and partnership with you, your facility.


  • Sell Results that Connect with Their Why: We have covered this before, but it needs to be repeated. Golfers buy based on their personal why…playing better and having more fun.
    • Golfers don’t buy lessons, they’re buying the hope of more good shots, fewer bad shots…and lower scores.
    • Golfers don’t buy drivers, they’re buying the hope of more yards and more fairways. It’s the same for wedges, putters and golf balls.
    • On the course, golfers don’t buy tee times, they are buying social experiences. Make every effort to create moments that matter on the course.
  • Share stories that Connect with Their Why: When you/your team have successfully helped another “regular golfer” (a woman, a man, a mom, a junior, etc.) find success, tell the story. Helping a single digit golfer go from a 4.4 to a 3.3 is really cool, but the vast majority of your golfers will respond to the story of helping social/recreational golfers like a Martha or Bill Jones break 105 every time. Why? Because these golfers, who represent about 80% of your customers/members, will connect with these kinds of stories. Again, tell the story of the results, the why and not the how you did it.

If you have a story of how you’ve applied some of these concepts for your success, I ask you to share them with me. As you can imagine, your success story will inspire other PGA professionals, so don’t be shy.

If there’s anything I can do to assist you, your team or your facility with these concepts; or in adding value to your PGA career, through coaching on applying player development and/or professional development principles, please don’t hesitate to reach out at your earliest convenience.


Monte Koch, PGA Certified Professional/Player Development | Career Consultant

PGA Career Services | PGA of America

Serving PGA professionals, employers in the Pacific NW & Rocky Mountain PGA Sections

Email: Cell: 206/335-5260