You can’t buy it. You can’t hurry it. And you certainly can’t force it.

We’re talking about love. We know the emotion can’t be manufactured, but many of us dream of creating brands that customers love as much as Apple or Nike.

So how do you build a brand that’s lovable? Think of your brand as a way to create a relationship with your customer. From the first time you lock eyes to your golden anniversary, how your brand connects with your customers will change as your relationship grows.

From brand research, here are seven insights on how to get into customers’ hearts and stay there.

1. Make a Good First Impression

Appearance is usually the first thing we notice when we meet someone new, and like it or not, it has a big effect on our first impressions. The same principle applies to your brand. In a Stanford study, participants most often cited the appearance or design of a website as the factor they used to determine the site’s credibility. And marketers have long known that colors affect our buying habits. Consider the message your brand’s aesthetic is sending — are you attracting customers with a clean, polished design, or repelling them with a color palette that doesn’t work?

2. What’s Inside Counts

Your brand’s look might attract customers initially, but they won’t stick around long if you’re boring. Interesting content is one of the top reasons customers follow brands on social media. Post captivating images and information in your social media feeds to keep your customers engaged.

3. Consider What You Have in Common

People resonate with brands because of shared values, C.W. Park, director of the Global Branding Center at USC Marshall School of Business, told Fast Company. For example, Apple’s “Think Different” campaign connected with customers who valued creativity and originality. Ensure your brand communicates your core values so you can connect with like-minded customers.

4. Treat Your Customers Right

How well your brand listens to your customers and interacts with them can make or break your relationship. According to a Harris Interactive customer experience survey, 73% of respondents said they’d stick with a brand because of friendly employees or customer service reps. On the flip side, 89% said they’d ditch a brand after a bad customer service experience.

5. Spice Things Up

As consumers become exposed to digital media, brands need to provide increasingly sophisticated content to hold their attention. Think of the evolution of websites from plain text to responsive video backgrounds over the last ten years. Consider ways to keep your customers inspired and entertained with beautiful and novel content.

6. Don’t Be Aloof

When it comes to generating love with your customers, playing hard to get doesn’t pay off. The Harris Interactive consumer survey found that customers were turned off by brands they couldn’t connect with easily. Make sure it’s easy for customers to contact you by phone or email.

7. Grow with Your Customers

As in any relationships, your brand and your customers may change over time. Susan Fournier, a pioneer in consumer-brand relationship research, found that major life events, such as a divorce or relocating to a different area, affects customers’ relationships with the brands they love. Understand what’s happening in your customer’s lives and think of new ways to connect with them.

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